Nannies weigh 24 to 34 kg (53 to 75 lb), while billies weigh 27 to 39 kg (60 to 86 lb). Wither height ranges from 41 to 58 cm (16 to 23 in). In the U.S., pygmies come only in seven breed standard approved colors, and can be categorized into caramel patterned, agouti patterned, and black patterned. Within these categories, there are caramel with black markings, caramel with brown markings, brown agouti, grey agouti, black agouti, black with white markings, and solid black. The faulting matrix allows for faulting random white markings from moderate to very serious, and these animals will be judged accordingly. White belly bands are not considered random markings. The eyes of the pygmy goat come only in brown.
Pygmy goats are precocial and polyestrous breeders, bearing one to four young every nine to 12 months after a five-month gestation period. Does are usually bred for the first time at about 18 to 24 months, although they may conceive as early as two months if care is not taken to separate them early from male kids. Breeding under-age does often results in C-sections. Newborn kids will nurse almost immediately, begin eating within a week, and are weaned by ten weeks of age.
The pygmy goat was developed from the West African dwarf goat, a landrace of Central and West Africa, found most commonly in the Cameroon Valley. They were taken to Europe primarily by the British during the colonial era. A few hundred were later exported to the United States from Europe in the 1950s for use in zoos, as well as research animals. They were eventually acquired by private breeders and quickly gained popularity as pets and as exhibition animals owing to their small size, good-natured personalities, friendliness and hardy constitution.
- Scientific name: Capra aegagrus hircus
- Average lifespan: 8–18 years
- Normal body temperature: 101.5-104 °F (39.1 - 40 °C)
- Normal pulse rate: 60-90 beats per minute (faster for kids)
- Normal respiration rate: 15-30 per minute
- Rumen movement: 1-1.5 per minute
- Gestation period: 145–155 days (average 150 days)
- Heat (oestrus) cycle: 18–24 days (average 21 days)
- Length of heat: 12–48 hours (average 1 day)
- Weaning age (recommended): 8–10 weeks
- Males sexually mature: 9–12 weeks
- Females onset of heat: 3–12 months*
- Dehorning (by veterinary surgeon): By 7 weeks
- Colby, Brian, et al. Dairy goats-breeding/feeding/management. American Goat Society. 1972.
- National Pygmy Goat Association. Best of Memo I. 1982.
- National Pygmy Goat Association. "Color Choices for Registration". 2013.
- National Pygmy Goat Association "Pygmies For All Reasons". 2003.
- "Speciality Livestock - Agriculture.com". agriculture.com. Retrieved 11 December 2014.