The Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature goat of West African origin. Its conformation is similar to that of the larger dairy goat breeds. The parts of the body are in balanced proportion. The nose is straight. The ears are upright. The coat is soft, with short to medium hair.
Although Dwarf goats may come in many colors,the main colors are black, chocolate and gold. Random white markings are common, as are spots and other color combinations such as red, white, gold and black. Any color or combination of colors is acceptable, though silver agouti (roan) is considered a moderate fault.
Dwarf goats are similar in origin to Pygmy goats, but they are two different distinct breeds. Pygmies are bred to be “cobby” and heavy boned. The best pygmies look like beer kegs with legs. Dwarfs are bred to have the length of body and structure in proportion to a dairy goat.
Dwarf goats are gentle and loveable. Even breeding bucks are handled easily. They make wonderful pets and great animal projects for young children in 4-H or FFA.
The balanced proportions of the Nigerian Dwarf give it the appearance of the larger breeds of dairy goats, but does stand no more than 22.5 inches (57 centimeters) and bucks no more than 23.5 inches (60 centimeters). Ideal weight is suggested to be about 75 pounds.
Dwarf goats breed year round. Does can be bred at 7 to 8 months of age if they have reached ¾ of mature weight at first breeding. Some breeders prefer to wait until they are at least one year or older.
Many breeders breed their does three times in two years, giving the doe a six- month plus break. Dwarf does can have several kids at a time. Three or four are common, but sometimes they may have as many as five. Dwarfs are generally good mothers and able to take care of their babies should the owner leave them to raise the kids. Nigerian Dwarf milk is 6 to 10 percent higher in butterfat and higher in protein than milk from most dairy goat breeds. They can give three to four pounds of milk per day of which 6 to 10 percent is butterfat.
Bucks are able to be used for service as young as 3 months of age and easily by the time they are 7 or 8 months old. Dwarf bucks are vigorous breeders and have been used successfully for hand breeding or pasture breeding.
American Dairy Goat Association
Photos of the Nigerian Dwarf doe and buck provided by Good Measure Farm, Wayne, OK and photo of the kid provided by Prairie Wood Ranch, Edgewood, NM.