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About Saanen GoatsAbout Saanen Goats

Photo By <a href = http://www.livestockofamerica.com/Ranches/Ranchhome.asp?CurrentPeopleID=2005>Chulo Watson</a>
Photo By Chulo Watson


Saanen Goats are dairy goats that originated in Switzerland, in the Saanen Valley. By the late 19th century they had spread across Europe, and in the early 20th century were brought to the US. Now they are among the most popular dairy goat breeds, due to their high productivity and ease of management.

Saanen does are heavy milk producers and usually yield 3-4 percent milk fat. They are medium to large in size (weighing approximately 145 lbs/65kg) with rugged bone and plenty of vigor.

Saanens are white or light cream colored; however white is preferred and spots on their skin is not discriminated against and small spots of color on their hair is allowable, but not desirable. Saanen hair should be short and fine, although a fringe over the spine and thighs is often present. Their ears should be erect and alertly carried, preferably pointing forward. Their face should be straight or dished, and a tendency toward a roman nose is discriminated against.

Saanen Goats are sensitive to excessive sunlight and performs best in cooler conditions, therefor shade is essential and tan skin is preferable.

Saanens are the largest of the goat dairy breeds, and one of the largest milk producers. Does typically weigh at least 135 pounds (61 kg) and stand 30 inches (76 cm) tall, with bucks weighing at least 160 pounds (73 kg) and standing 32 inches (81 cm). The profile of the head is straight or dished (concave), with erect, forward-pointing mid-sized to large ears. Saanen does are known for their ease of management in herds, mellow temperaments and adaptability, as well as their production abilities. Their milk generally has a butterfat content of 3-4%.

Organizations for the preservation and advancement of the Saanen breed in the US include the National Saanen Breeders Association and the American Goat Society. The American Goat Society, founded in 1935, registers nine breeds of goat, including the Saanen.

Saanen goats have been used in hunger relief programs by Heifer International as gifts because of their ease of care and productivity.

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