Nubian Goats: The Key Breed Facts

Compared to Other Milk Goat Breeds, the Nubian Leads the Way in Butterfat Production

Nubian Goats: The Key Breed Facts

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The Anglo-Nubian goat, or simply Nubian goat in the United States, was developed in Great Britain of native milking stock and goats from the Middle East and North Africa. Its distinguishing characteristics include large, pendulous ears and a “Roman” nose. Due to their Middle-Eastern heritage, Anglo-Nubians can live in very hot climates and have a longer breeding season than other dairy goats. Considered a dairy or dual-purpose breed, Anglo-Nubians are known for the high butterfat content of their milk, although on average, the breed produces less volume of milk than other dairy breeds. Anglo-Nubians are large, with does weighing at least 64 kg. The average height of the goat breed, measured at the withers, is 81 cm for does and 94 cm for bucks. Like most dairy goats, they are normally kept hornless by disbudding within approximately two weeks of birth.

History of the Nubian Goat

The Anglo-Nubian goat breed originated in England as a cross between the Old English Milch Goat and the Zariby and Nubian bucks imported from India, Russia, and Egypt. They have been exported to most countries from England and in the United States are referred to as simply Nubians.

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Nubian Goat Characteristics

The Nubian is large in size and carries more flesh than other dairy breeds. The Nubian goat breed standard specifies large size, markings can be any color, the ears are long, pendulous, and the nose is Roman. The Nubian temperament is sociable, outgoing, and vocal. Because of its elongated ears and sleek body, the Nubian is occasionally nicknamed the “Lop-Eared Goat” or “Greyhound Goat.”


Breed Standard

According to the American Dairy Goat Association, which provides facts about goats, the Nubian should be a relatively large, proud, and graceful dairy goat of mixed Asian, African, and European origin, known for high-quality, high butterfat, milk production.

Nubian Goats

The head is the distinctive breed characteristic, with the facial profile between the eyes and the muzzle being strongly convex (Roman nose). The ears are long (extending at least one inch [2.54 cm] beyond the muzzle when held flat along the face), wide and pendulous. They lie close to the head at the temple and flare slightly out and well forward at the rounded tip, forming a “bell” shape. The ears are not thick, with the cartilage well defined. The hair is short, fine and glossy.

Any color or colors, solid or patterned, is acceptable.


Uses of Nubians

The Nubian’s size makes it a very useful dual-purpose animal. The Nubian breed leads the way for the dairy breeds in butterfat production: it produces on average, 5% or more butterfat content. This is surpassed only by the Nigerian Dwarf goat, Pygmy goat and Boer goat breeds, which are less likely to be used for large-scale milk production, as for a dairy or facility that is making goat’s cheese. Because of the higher fat content, the goat milk benefits of Nubian milk is that it is higher in flavor than lower fat milks. Milk production is lower than other dairy breeds on average.

What do you love about Nubians?

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