Dairy goat breeds will be the best goat breeds for you to look at if you want a lots of yummy milk production from your goats! Of course, all goats CAN produce milk. But that doesn't mean that you will get much milk from them or that it will be as delicious as ones bred specifically for milk production.
There are several different dairy goat breeds including: Alpines, Nubians, Lamanchas, Oberhaslis, Toggenburgs, Sables, Nigerian Dwarfs, and Saanens. Additionally, there are mini dairy goat breeds like Mini-Alpines and Mini-Lamanchas which are a cross between Nigerian Dwarf Goats and the standard breeds. Milk production can range from .25-1 gallon per day.
Of course, if you want milk, you will also need to learn all about breeding goats! Since they have to have kids to produce milk.
The Top Dairy Goat Breeds
There are many reasons to get goats, but if you aren't sure what type of goat to get make sure that dairy goats are right for you before you get one.
Dairy goats can be a lot of work -- what with all the milking they require! You'll need all the right goat supplies, milking supplies, know how to milk a goat, and how to pasteurize milk. But that delicious milk you get is well worth all the effort.
If you are looking for the most milk per day, an Alpine at an average of 1 gallon is your best bet. If you are looking for rich butterfat and a smaller goat, then a Nigerian Dwarf may be what you are looking for.
Check out the table below to see breeds compared by size and average milk production per day.
|Alpine||30-32 inches||1 gallon per day|
|Lamancha||28-30 inches||.82 gallons per day|
|Nigerian Dwarf||17-24 inches||.25 gallons per day|
|Nubian||30-32 inches||.75 gallons per day|
|Oberhasli||28-30 inches||.72 gallons per day|
|Saanen||30-32 inches||.97 gallons per day|
|Sable||30-32 inches||.86 gallons per day|
|Toggenburg||26-28 inches||.81 gallons per day|
Ok, so we may be a tad bit biased here, but Nigerian Dwarf Goats are (obviously) our favorite of the goat breeds! They are great if you have space constraints (or if you just love smaller goats). We also find them to be the friendliest breed of goat.
They are a small goat breed but they produce more milk per body size than the larger breeds do. This means cheaper per ounce cost for your milk.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats also have a very high butterfat percentage. This means that their milk is very creamy and sweet. It tastes most like cows milk to most people. In our opinion, it is the best tasting goat milk.
This mini dairy goat breed is small, they range from 17 inches to just under 24 inches and average about 75 pounds (though some can be significantly smaller). They will produce overall less milk - usually around 2 quarts or so per day - than a standard sized breed due to their much smaller size. So, it is important to make sure that you get goats from proven genetics that are easy to milk and produce a high volume of milk.
Need some help to keep your goats healthy and maintained? The G.O.A.T Herd Management Binder has you covered from supplies to routine care reminders.
These goats are a standard size goat. They are one of the most distinguishable dairy goat breeds. They are easy to tell by their long, floppy ears (which are just SO adorable!).
Nubians also have a high butterfat percentage (but not as high as Nigerian Dwarf Goats). They don't typically produce quite as high of a volume as other standard sized goats. They are on average of 2018 pounds of milk per lactation.
But their butterfat (and adorable ears) may well be worth the trade-off. For more information on Nubian Goats, check out Nubian Goats as Pets.
This maybe one of the most beautiful of the dairy goat breeds. Alpines are a medium, standard size breed that comes in a wide array of patterns and colors.
They are a very hardy breed that easily adapts to a variety of conditions. This breeds is capable of producing large volumes of goat milk - on average a gallon per day. There are also mini alpine goats but they won't produce the same amount as their larger counterparts will.
Perhaps one of the most striking breeds, Saanens are solid white. They do not come in different colors and patterns like the other dairy goat breeds do.
Saanens are a very large goat (the largest of the dairy goats) with the milk production to match - they can make well over a gallon of milk per day. So, if you are looking for an enormous amount of milk, this goat breed may very well be your best choice.
If you love different looking goats, then this may be the best breed for you for you! LaMancha's are the polar opposites of Nubians.
While Nubians have long, floppy ears LaManchas have little to no visible ear lobe area. Their ears come in two types: gopher and elf.
LaManchas can come in a wide variety of colors and patterns (like most of the other dairy goats - Saanens excluded).
This breed tends to be very hardy and is known for its ability to milk through. Milking through means to milk over a year without being re-bred. They are known to average about 2100 pounds of milk per milking season which amounts to around .75 gallons of milk per day.
Oberhasli are large goats standing at least 28 - 30 inches tall and weighing at least 120 - 150 pounds. They are originally from Switzerland and were brought to the US in the 1900's.
They are only chamoisee in color which is brown with black points on the face, spine, legs and belly. They are known to give anywhere from ½ - 1.5 gallons of milk per day with a relatively high butterfat content.
Somewhat similar to Saanens in production, these goats stand at about 30-32 inches and weigh in around 150 pounds (plus or minus depending on if they are bucks or does).
This breed is from Switzerland and can be a variety of colors except cream or solid white. They average about .75 gallons of milk per day.
Toggenburgs are a little smaller than some of the other standard breed goats. They stand about 26-28 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 120 - 150 pounds.
This breed is also originally from Switzerland. They are a variety of brown colors with white markings on their face and legs.
Toggenburg's and mid-range producers at an average of 2237 pounds of milk per lactation. This is just over half a gallon a day.
Mini dairy goat breeds
Mini dairy goats are essentially a mix of usually a Nigerian Dwarf goat and one of the full size/ standard size milk goat breeds.
By mixing the small Nigerian dwarf goat with a standard size goat you get a mini dairy goat that is a power producer for milk.
Of course, in order to decide which of these dairy goat breeds might be best for your situation, you will need to think about your space and goals. It is recommended that you only have between 2 and 10 goats per acre.
Although, how much a goat costs doesn't vary much based on their size, they will ultimately cost less to feed and care for.
How Much Milk Does A Goat Produce Per Day?
It really depends on the breed and the size of the goat. A smaller goat like a Nigerian Dwarf goat can produce up to 2 quarts of milk a day. Whereas a larger breed like a Saanen can produce up to 3 GALLONS of milk per day!
A good thing to remember is that the size of the goat will play a big role in the amount of milk they will produce. Genetics will then determine how heavy of a producer that specific goat will be.
What Is The Best Tasting Goat Milk?
We mentioned above that we think Nigerian Dwarf Goat goat is the best tasting. It has a higher butter fat content, up near 10%) and is generally sweeter than cow's milk.
A larger breed like a Saanen will have a muskier flavor and a much lower butterfat content; usually around 3%. Alpines, which are sized somewhere in between Nigerian Dwarf Goats and Saanens have a butter fat content of around 3.5%.
LaManchas are not much higher with around 3.7% and Nubians rounding out the list at just under 5%. So, it really comes down to how much milk you need and how sweet you want it to be.
Which of these dairy goat breeds is your favorite?
If you need more help keeping your goats healthy and well taken care of, check out the G.O.A.T. Herd Management System - worksheets, calculators, supply management and more to keep your goats in tip top shape while cutting down on time.