Spanish Goat Breed Styles
Spanish goat genetics are diverse and adaptable. This adaptability is reflected in the differences in the physical appearance of the Spanish goat bloodlines. Appearances can be different even within the same bloodline as a result of management and region. Two herds from the same bloodline that have seed stock genetics from the same breeder may have very different looking goats.
The Spanish Goat Association’s effort to conserve genetics began in 2007. Prior to 2007 ranchers thought nothing of mixing in angora, dairy or meat breeds for production purposes. The Spanish goat Bloodline Foundation breeders agreed to close their herds to pure Spanish genetics from that point forward. Sometimes these other genetics will show up years later. While this is no fault of the breeder of the goat, SGA seeks to select out the goats that display crossbreeding. Goats that display crossbreeding are not DNA Registered unless the dam and sire are already DNA Registered and are proven to be the parentage. Most often Certified Spanish Goat Breeders wanting to continue DNA Registrations of their goats will select out these traits before DNA Registration. The point is two fold: One, we have to start somewhere and clean up the gene pool and that effort began in 2007; and two, we do not want to penalize hardworking and committed breeders who are trying to do right by the breed. As long as the origins of the goat being DNA Registered can be legitimately tracked.
Legitimizing the Spanish goat as a distinct breed requires up-front and honest input from breeders as well as a commitment to the transparency, blind justice and integrity required to establish a DNA Registry. You need to know what you have, and so do we. Here are the breed conformation guidelines for Spanish goats put forward by The The Livestock Conservancy:
Head – Profile is usually straight or slightly convex. The ears are moderately long, and usually fall horizontally, but close to the head and alongside the face rather than out to the side. Long ears out to the side are more typical of Nubian crosses, which is a common cross with these goats.
Horns – These are usually long. On bucks they usually flare up, out laterally, and then twist at the tips. The large size and lateral twist are very typical.
Body – Spanish goats are usually somewhat rangy and large-framed rather than compact and cobby. In selected lines the rangy frame is well-filled so that meat conformation is good on those lines.
Feet and Legs – Usually the feet are strong with upright, strong pasterns. Legs are generally straight from front and rear view, with some tendency toward low degrees of “cow hocks” in some bloodlines.
Hair Coat – Usually short; some have longer hair, especially on lower body and thighs. Some lines produce heavy cashmere coats.
Color – All colors are acceptable. Some colors that occur in pure examples can resemble the colors in other breeds, but are no indication of crossbreeding unless accompanied by other conformational evidence of crossbreeding.
Evidence of Crossbreeding – The width and bend of the ear can be signs of crossbreeding as well as thickness of the horns, and profile of the nose. Spanish goats have a distinct gate and body posture. It is difficult to tell from photographs the origins of a goat’s genetics. Oftentimes the crossing does not show up until later generations. SGA is committed to tracking the origins in our attempt to legitimize the Spanish goat breed. We acknowledge we may let a few goats that are pure Spanish get by but we are more sure that we will keep crosses out of the gene pool.
The commitment of all pure Spanish goat breeders to stick with known origins and cull any signs of cross-breeding will ensure the genetic diversity and longevity of the Pure Spanish Goat Breed. Oftentimes the crossing does not reveal itself until later generations. SGA is committed to tracking the origins to legitimize the Spanish GOat Breed. We acknowledge we may let a few goats that are pure Spanish get but, but we are more sure that we will keep crossbred genetics out of the gene pool.