Goat Breeds for Pets

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If you are thinking about adding goats to your family homestead, choosing the best breed is the key to a happy relationship from day one. This list of the best goat breeds for pets will help you to make a more informed decision.

When you are deciding on the goat breeds that will fit your home and family, researching each breed is a great way to ensure you are making the best choice.

best goat breeds for pets

Times they are a’changin. And nowhere is that truer than in homesteading. Before, livestock was owned for meat, milk, or egg production, whereas today, I see more people turning to livestock for pets.

Goats, chickens, and even pigs are being welcomed into the family home, which I do find crazy yet hilariously fun at the same time. This post will give you my top pics of Goat Breeds for Pets so you, too, can add a little goat-loving charm to your family.

baby pygmy goat. Goat breeds for pets

When most folks think of goats, they are immediately either taken to the large goats you see climbing mountains on the Discovery channel or maybe those viral YouTube videos of little goat kids in pajamas jumping around like rabbits.

The good news is, not all goats are horned mountain climbing forces that will destroy your home and yard in 5 seconds flat.

The bad news is, all goats most definitely will NOT stay cute, and tiny, and wear pajamas their entire life.

Goats do and will grow frighteningly fast, so knowing what you are in for before you grab your little angel is key to saving your sanity and yard.

When you start your journey with animals, learning all you can on how to raise dairy goats is the best place to begin.

Goat rules to remember

Let’s talk about a few rules about goats before we dive into my top picks.

Rule number 1.  Goats are more curious than a toddler.

If they hear a noise, they will investigate. If they see something, they will follow it. If they smell something, they will taste it. This is both endearing and frustrating. Because of their inquisitive nature, you need to “child-proof” your home and your yard to ensure they are safe at all times.

Remove any poisonous plants or bushes before you bring your first goat home. You can find a list here that will help you determine what can stay and what must go.

Be sure to grab the FREE Goat Pets Checklist below!!

Rule number 2.  Goats LOVE to climb.

Goats love to climb, and for that reason, most goat owners provide something for them to climb on. A plastic playground bought at a yard sale, wooden spools set up with boards, a pile of rocks, or tree stumps. Whatever you can find that is safe and fun for them will work great.

pet goat kids climbing on a diy goat playground

READ: HOW TO BUILD A FREE DIY GOAT PLAYGROUND

Rule number 3.  Goats need a friend.

Goats are social animals, and unless you plan to keep your goat in your home all the time, you will want to get him or her a buddy. Primarily known as a herd animal, having one more goat will go a long way to keeping everyone happy.

Now, if you have your goats with another animal like a sheep, horse, or donkey, you may be fine with just one. But, if your goats are with ducks or chickens or pigs, you will want to get them a friend to socialize with.

Rule number 4.  Each breed has its pros and cons.

Some goats are loud (Nubians) and will let you know if they are happy, unhappy, or STARVING!! Some goats are friendlier than others, and some goats are better with young children. Know your breeds and do your homework before bringing a cutie home.  

Rule number 5.  Horns hurt!

No matter how sweet and gentle the goat is, horns are sharp and do hurt.

Young goats on a gate. The top breeds of goats for family pets

Rule number 6:  If you do not want any more goats, then you will need to do a snip and tuck.

I am just going to touch on this quickly, but I do feel it’s important to mention it. Does (female goats) go into heat every 21 days, and Bucks (male goats) go into Rut (when they are ready to breed) for 3-6 months each year, typically in the fall.

You must breed a doe in order to get milk, and if you do not Wether (castrate) a buck, you will have to deal with Rut, which smells. If you plan to keep your goats strictly as pets, then you will need to, at the very least, wether all the males you own, so they do not bother the females when they are in heat.

READ: GOAT BREEDING 101 

Okay, enough of the preliminary work…let’s dive in!

My Top Goat Breeds For Pets

This is my list of picks for you to consider. Know that this is my opinion, and I encourage you to do more research before deciding.

# 1 –  Pygmy Goats

This is my number one pick for the best pet goat breed because of their gentle and kind demeanor. They are usually found at children petting zoos because of their smaller size and their love of hugs and human contact.

If you have young children, I believe this goat breed is a really good fit for you. Weighing in at 50-60 pounds when fully grown, they have airplane-like ears, adorable faces, and plump little bellies.

Final Word: A small, friendly, and docile goat that loves people makes this my top pick for a goat pet.

baby pygmy goat. Goat breeds for pets

# 2 –  Nigerian Dwarf Goats

This is another small breed of goat, making it a top choice for a family pet. It is popular with many homesteaders because of their milk production.

They have similar features to pygmy, but they have the same stature and bellies, and their ears and noses are a bit shorter.

Final Word: They are known to be gentle goats that love to play, making them a good fit for young children.

nigerian dwarf doe and kid. My top goat breeds for pets

# 3 –  Boer goats

This breed of goat is mainly known for meat, but I have a soft spot for it, so it is at the top of my pet list. A stocky goat that is wider than tall is smaller than the taller breeds that are coming up next.

They are mainly known for their wide build, long pendulous ears (which I just love!), and short Roman noses.

They love to run and play and be out in the sun. No kidding here. It can be 15 degrees, and my Boer goats are outside in the sun, just soaking up the rays while the rest of my goats are watching from the barn. 🙂 Fully grown, you can expect to see 200 or more pounds, so keep this in mind.

Final Word: Their size might be a bit much for very young children who are inexperienced with farm animals, but their friendly nature still puts them on my top goat pet list.

boar goats eating hay. List of goat breeds for pets

# 4 –  Alpine Goats

This breed is a tall breed known mainly for milk production. So if milk is on your radar, this might be where you want to start. A friendly and easy goat to train, they do very well on the stand and will be more patient with a new milker than some of the other dairy breeds.

I love these goats, and they make great companions to horses. Another thing I love about the Alpine is their mothering tendencies. Always loving and patient with their kids, our Alpines were great and dependable mothers, which further proves their friendly nature.

Being a big breed of goat, you can expect to see sizes of 135-160 pounds at full growth.

Final Word: Even though they are a large breed when fully grown, they are friendly and loving to other animals and people alike.

baby goats. My top list of goat breeds for pets.


# 5 – LaMancha Goats

This is another well-known dairy breed, so again, if you want a pet that produces milk, this is your pick. They are known for their milk production and will keep your family fridge full.

They are friendly and quiet goats; that do well on the stand and will be more patient than other goats as you learn the milking process.

This goat is mainly known for its ears, which look as if they have NO ears and its long nose. It is a larger breed of goat standing tall like the Alpine, but because of its gentle nature, I wanted it on this best of list.

If you live close to neighbors, then quiet might be your top concern with goats. The LaMancha is known as a quiet breed and should do well for you. Full size, you can expect to see weights at 130-160 pounds.

Final Word: Lamacha goats are quiet, docile, and loving, making this gentle giant a great fit for the new homesteader.

lamancha goat. How to pick the best goat breed for your family pet on your homestead

# 6 –  Kinder Goats

Rounding out the list is the Kinder goat. A cross between a Pygmy and a Nubian, this goat gives you great milk in a smaller size, making it a good fit for a young family.

Looking like they have a little more “meat” on them; they are considered a dual-purpose breed. This means they are good for dairy and good for meat.

(Yes, I know meat is not a reason for choosing a pet, but I did want to explain their look and why their crossbreed is gaining popularity with new homesteaders.)

Because of the cross, some Kinder goats may have airplane ears while others have the long pendulous ears like the Nubian. This depends on the cross percentages and should not affect their loudness.

Full-grown weight can be from 110-130, making this a nice medium-sized dairy goat.

Final Word: Since this goat is a cross, there is a chance they have the best qualities of each breed. Quiet, docile, and friendly making them a possible pick for a family pet.

Kinder goat in a pasture. how to choose the best goat for a pet on your farm

When choosing a goat as a pet, you need to take cuteness out of the picture. Know just what the end result will be before you head out to look at the cute and cuddly kids. This will save you a lot of frustration, knowing exactly what you are buying before bringing it home.

Goat Care Checklist

Let’s quickly go over a few tips on what you need to house and care for your new pet goat.

Goat Housing

Most goats will live outside, so you will need a shelter of some kind to protect them from the weaether. Depending on where you live will determine the complexity of their housing.

Option #1. If you live in a year-round warm climate, then a lean too that will allow them to get out of the wind and rain will do just fine.

Option #2. If you live in an area that has all four seasons, a closed shelter will be needed to keep them out of the snow and sleet.

READ: CONVERTING A SHED INTO A GOAT BARN

Grazing area

Goats LOVE to graze, and having an area for them to do so safely will be good for them and you. I mentioned their very curious nature above, so having a fenced-in area that compliments the size of the goats you have is key.

Now, don’t let this requirement scare you off from owning goats. You do not need to spend a lot of money to fence a grazing area. My post on fencing will walk you through the different options and the cost of each.

READ: GOAT FENCING 101

goats in a fence. The best goat breeds for pets

Goat Feed

When feeding goats, you will want to consider the breed you have, as this will determine the type of feed you need to give. Goats do not require grain to survive, and if you are feeding them good-quality hay along with a healthy area to graze, your grain requirements should be used only as needed. Milking and/or kidding are two reasons grain may need to be used.

Water

Goats need and must have fresh water at all times. This task should be on your daily chore list. You can use a water bucket or continuous waterer to supply enough water for your goats.

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As with any living thing, water is the key to health. Not only fresh water but more than one resource available to your entire herd.

Water Containers for Goats:

There is nothing more rewarding than having goats on a homestead or small family farm. A friendly and comical animal, they have the benefit of delicious milk, cheese, butter, and soap, which makes them a plus to any family.

pouring fresh goat milk into a mason jar

Do your research, have a talk with your family, and choose the best breed that everyone will love. Do you have your favorite goat breeds for pets? If so, please comment below; I would love to hear from you!

More Goat Resources:

Don't you just love the videos of all the adorable baby goats and you are thinking of adding one to your family? Well, guess what, those little goats grow up and big. This list of goat breeds for pets will help you pick the best goat for your family and homestead. #goatsforpets #goatpets #goats

15 Comments

  1. SAM. Messineo says:

    We had Fainting Goats and 2. Nubians. The fainters were so friendly and easy to care for. They frolicked just like the little Pygmies. They are a medium sized goat that produces good milk. They usually kid twins, but once our Greta had 4! We had a huge area fenced in for them, but often let them in with the llamas. ( the kids wou;d stand on the llamas’ back when they were mushed.). We supplemented their grass with good Timothy and/or alfalfa mix hay and a little grain each night. Q

    1. ROBIN VALENTIN says:

      How much and where can i buy a pygmy goat i live in delaware

      1. The price will all depend on the market for goats where you live. If you are looking to purchase a goat you can call your local vet for recommendations or your county extension office.

        Good luck!
        Tracy Lynn

  2. Tawny M Leste-Carlson says:

    Thank you so much
    for the honest, informative yet easy read about goats as pets! I’ve been drawn to them all my life (57 years!) but have had to settle for collecting goat figurines, stuffed animals(56 years!) etc until now ~ I finally have acreage in the country! Yay! I have two questions I didn’t see covered ~ do they like to swim? My new home is on a lake in NW Wisconsin. Also, are they comfortable being with dogs? I have German Shepherds that are qell-trained and greet every animal like a new friend. (Even the dang moles, mice and voles that get in the house!) Thank you, again. I do research on everything so that I’m well-informed, can make decisions with my head, not just my heart, and don’t just JUMP INTO something, doing what’s best for all involved.

    1. Hi, Tawny!
      To be honest, I have never seen a goat swim in all of my life, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like too! And yes if the dogs are comfortable with the goats they will do just fine together. As long as the goats do not feel threatened in any way they will do fine with just about any animal. That is why they are great to have as companions for horses, cows, even pigs!
      I am so excited you are getting goats, they truly are a joy to have!
      Tracy Lynn

    2. Anonymous says:

      Tawny I hope by now you have goats, I can’t think of missing out a minute without their crazy antics and silly personalities.
      I If I had the room I would have a few of each breed but I love my Nigerian Dwarf Goats! As a rule goats HATE water, like its acid! however I have seen videos of pack goats going through small rivers/large creeks. I have also seen you tube videos of people playing with Nigies in their pools. I am sure if its hot enough they will tolerate it. They swim very well.
      Good Luck!

  3. Can I get a miniature goat that can live in and out like my 2 small pups? A small goat that’s friendly and loving. Where’s the best place to buy one T?hank you so very much

    1. Hello, Tania!
      Yes, you can find a goat that will do well with any household pets. Indoors or out! To find a goat in your area, you can search for Facebook groups that are for goats locally or craigslist. You can also contact the local feed mill or Tractor Supply. Both usually have bulletin boards inside for animal selling and buying.
      I hope this helps!
      Tracy Lynn

  4. We have two wether Australian Miniature Goats and we adore them.
    They were polled and banded by the breeder and we have had them since they were 6 weeks old. They are now 13 weeks old and have been weaned.
    They are escape artists so my fence mending skills have been needed.
    Australian Minis are a separate breed that has used smaller wild goats to shrink the breed. Although goats aren’t native to Australia, we have millions of wild ones that have escaped and bred in our vast outback over the past 200 years.

  5. I have a male goat that I at first thought was a sheep. And friends I asked with goats said he was a breed of sheep but the person I got the goat from said he was sure he’s a goat. My vet said he is a goat with sheep qualities. So I still have no idea what kind of goat he is and so I’m not sure how big he is supposed to get. He looks kind of fat and I’m a feeder and he lives on my porch so it may be too many snacks ( he loves trail mix and raisins, cranberries and Bruschetinni!). What group would be s good contact to find out what kind og goat he really is???

    1. I would contact your local county extension office and see if they can put you in touch with a 4H group in your area for sheep or goats. They might be able to help you out with identifying your new goat/sheep!

      Good luck!

  6. Cleone Maines says:

    I am looking for a goat as a pet/companion for my horse. I am not interested in breeding, meat, or milk. I have a well fenced pasture and a great shelter/enclosure that are well suited for both a horse and a goat. The pasture has both grass and some salal, blackberry vines, weeds, etc. Would a goat eat the vines and weeds even though it had access to the grass? (I would like that.) Do you have any suggestions that may help me?Thanks!

    1. Hello, Cleone!
      Getting a companion goat for your horse is a great idea and a very common reason that most owners have before they add a goat to their homes. I would look for a larger goat that is gentle and quiet. An alpine goat, a Sanaan, or Boer breed are all great options. I still love Nubians, but they can get excited by the site of you and yell a bit to show they love you. If that is something you do not want, steer clear from that breed.
      A whether is best for a companion goat. A whether is a male goat that is no longer able to breed. When you take the hormones away, you take away most (if any) aggression (which is actually determination) as well.
      Goats will eat just about anything if they can get to it. Yes, they are going to eat their favorites first which tends to be vines and weeds. If there is anything you do not want them to get access to, such as trees or other plants, you will want to fence those out or wrap a protective fence around them.

      Good luck!
      Tracy Lynn

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