The Nigerian Dwarf Goat is a small but well-proportioned dairy goat.
It may be naturally hornless or horned. It has a fine coat that is fairly short, and may be of a single color, or multi-colored.
Common colors are black, gold, and chocolate, frequently with white markings. The facial profile may be straight or concave; the ears are upright.
The average weight is around 75 lb (35 kg), while maximum height is approximately 60 cm (24 in) for males and slightly less for females; stock bred for dairy performance may be rather larger than companion or show animals.
The Nigerian Dwarf Goat is a precocious breed – young stock may be bred from an early stage: females from 7-8 months and males from about 3 months.
The gestation period is between 145-153 days; the twinning rate is high, and triplet and quadruplet are quite common
The Nigerian Dwarf Goats Breed Information – Care, Feeding, Reproduction, Life Expectancy and More
Life expectancy is from 8-12 years.
How cool is that?
The Dwarf Nigerian goat was introduced to the United States in the 1950s. Since then, these little smart goats have been used as both companion animals and for milk production.
Nigerian Dwarf goats are known for their gentleness and even tempers, playful personalities. Due to these qualities and their small size, they are well known far and wide as great family pets.
They can be easily trained and wonderful with children, making them attractive to first-timers or youth participating in FFA or 4-H clubs.
Their personalities also make them perfect service animals for hospitals and nursing homes.
Quick Breed Profile
Capra hircus (domestic goat)
They are all over the world, but has its origins in West Africa.
They are domestic and mostly kept in captivity.
Full-grown animals fall between 16-21 inches tall at the withers for does and 23.5 inches tall at the withers for bucks.
They weigh averagely between 60-80 pounds and come in a variety of colors. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are generally supposed to look like small dairy goats.
They are herding animals and therefore live in herds in captivity.
Wild – Grasses and other vegetation
Hay and Goat pellets
Naija Dwarfs are both gentle and easily trainable goats. This, along with their colourful appearance and small size, makes them popular as pets.
A lot of breeders sell bottle-fed babies that are bonded with humans and simple to manage.
The African Dwarf goat can be trained to walk on a leash and some love coming into the house with their owners.
Nigerians’ short goat small size also makes them excellent “visitor” animals for hospitals and nursing homes.
Nigerian short goat can breed year-round. Their pregnancy lasts approximately 155 days. After that they usually have twins, but triplets and quadruplets are common.
Nigerian Dwarf Goat Facts
- Nigerian Dwarf Goats have no canines or incisors (upper teeth in the front of their mouths)
- Goat’s pupils are horizontal, which are thought to cut-down glars, an adaptation which would have proven helpful to their mountain-dwelling ancestors.
- It’s believed that the Nigerian Dwarf Goats first arrived in U.S as food source for zoo animals, like the Cheetah, lions and other cats. They proved useful and so charming that they have become a staple in zoo contact areas around the country (although this breed is less common than others).
Relationship with Humans
In their original continent – Africa, they are used as a food and source for nomadic people. These people would not have survived without these goats.
In the Unites States of America, it is used as a dairy goat breed.
Size and Characteristics
This West African breed can be seen all across the continent today. Males (bucks) can grow up to be 23.5 inches tall at withers and Does (female) can stand between 16 and 21 inches tall at withers.
These goats weigh in at around 60 and 80 pounds, and because they can be breed in various colors, you can assemble a distinctive and beautiful bird.
Care and Feeding
They are hardy animals that thrive in almost any environments or climate they find themselves because of their size, they require less space to play and graze than full-size dairy goats.
They’re also super adaptable, able to live comfortably with other livestock suck as donkeys, illamas, horses, and cattle.
Although small in size, these goats need lots of room to explore and play. Their loving areas need to feature toys such as rocks, tree stumps, and other large climbing structure that they can entertain themselves with.
Adequate fencing is another requirement since a miniature goat can be quite the escape artist.
Nigerian Dwarf goat breed also need proper feed in order to give their best performance. Most importantly, your goats will need free-choice access to quality forage and hay.
Plus, goats will need free-choice access to a goat mineral to help balance their diets. Nursing does or pregnant does as well as young kids will also need grain to help supplement their diets.
And, of course, be sure to also provide plenty of fresh, clean water.
READ MORE: Nigerian Dwarf Goat Care and Feeding
For a lot of people, the appeal of the Nigerian Dwarf goat is the combination of their compact size and milking ability.
When milking, the Nigerian Dwarf goat milk can go as high as 3 and 4 pounds of 6% to 10% butterfat milk on a daily basis.
A single Nigerian Dwarf goat produces a surprising amount of milk and is basically a miniature dairy goat.
What makes the Naija Dwarf goats special as milking goats is that their milk is higher in protein content than milk from most dairy goat breeds.
The higher percentage of butterfat also provides this goat milk a rich, sweet taste that can’t be beaten.
When it comes to breeding the Nigerian short goat, they are able to breed year-round. Does can be bred as early as 7 months, but it is advised to wait until they are fully grown at 1 year in age.
Bucks on the other hand can be bred at 7-8 months of age, but they have been known to be ready at ages as young as 3 months.
The gestation period lasts between 145-153 days and does often have between 3-4 kids at a time. But, it’s not uncommon for this number to move up to 5, 6 or more.
Nigerian Dwarf goat breed generally have simple births with few problems and kids are born at an average of around 2 pounds.
When cared for properly, the Nigerian Dwarf goat can have a lifespan of between 12 and 14 years.
Buying a Nigerian Dwarf Goat For Sale
If you’re looking to buy your own specimen of the Nigerian Dwarf goat directly from Nigeria, you can contact us here.
However, if you prefer to get them in America or global registries, you can get them in one of these 4 registeries:
The price of a Nigerian Dwarf goat differs upon the quality of the goat you are looking to buy. For breeding or pedigree quality goats or those with unique or rare coloring, the cost falls between $200 or $500 per head.
A pet-quality Nigerian Dwarf goat will range between $50 and $100 per head.
These small goats can make awesome pets and may be the best choice for a family or homesteader. They produce a decent amount of milk given their small stature, and need almost no acreage when compared to larger goat breeds.
ALSO SEE: Can Goats Eat Pig Feed or Live Together?
Nigerian Goat Behavior And Facts
- Goats are browsers, eating tips of woody trees and shrubs. They generally improve a pasture by removing weedy undergrowth, blackberry and ivy (even poison oak and poison ivy) that other livestock won’t eat.
- A single doe can produce up to 2 quarts per day of milk that is higher in butterfat (6-10 percent) and protein than milk from most dairy goat breeds.
- The Nigerian dwarf goats can serve dual purpose – pets and milk production. They are hardy, gregarious, friendly and can thrive in almost any climate. Their calm, gentle and playful nature makes them good companion pets for the disabled and children including elderly people.
- Their small size means they do not require as much space or feed as larger dairy goat breeds.
- Color is one factor that makes these goats popular: chocolate, Dalmatian-spotted, black, gold, pint-patterned and other combinations are possible.
From Birth To Death
- Breed: year round
- Gestation: 145 to 153 days
- Kids: 3 to 4, each 2 pounds at birth
- Sexual maturity: 3 months for males; 7 to 8 months for females
- Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Females: 22.5 inches at the withers; males: 23.5 inches at the withers
- Ideal weight: 75 pounds
Nigerian goats are considered rare by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the Nigerian dwarf goat as a livestock dairy goat, which makes the breed eligible for youth 4H and FFA projects.
Do you have a Nigerian Dwarf goat? Tell us about it in the comments below.