Whether you are just looking at goats for sale or you already have registered goats, you may look at these goat pedigrees and think - What the heck do all those letter, numbers and symbols mean? We sure did when we first started looking at goats. Reading goat pedigrees can definitely be a little like reading a foreign language. However, it is important to understand your goat's pedigree. Afterall, you are paying more to get a goat with a pedigree, right? Then you should make sure that it is a pedigree that you want.
Being able to read a goat pedigree is an important part of making the right goat breeding decisions.
How to Read a Goat Pedigree:
Ok, so you might see a pedigree that looks something like this:
SG GCH Waterloo Pond RHP Nutmeg 3*M VEEE90 (this is the dam of our buck The Winter Solider).
There are 4 parts to this title. Of note, this pegree above is ADGA only. AGS, another popular registry, has similar programs/designations with different ways to notate them.
Top Designations in Goat Pedigrees
Typically the first few letters will be designations or titles that the goat has achieved. In this example, the SG and the GCH are designations.
SG stands for Superior Genetics and indicates that she in in the top 15% of the breed for the PTI. (For more on Superior Genetics, check out the ADGA site here.)
The GCH represents that she is a grand champion. (This would reflect as ARMC or MCH in AGS and is called master or permanent champion). You could also see CH which represents a Champion.
Names in Goat Pedigrees
After any top designations in your goats pedigree, you will see the goats full, registered name. The first part of the name will be the herd name (the farm that bred the goat). In our example above, it is Waterloo Pond. This will be followed by the goats name. In this example, Nutmeg.
Of note, you may see initials, like the RHP in our example. Often times, these initials indicate a sire, dam or some other means of tracking the goats history. These are not required, but some people choose to use them. You may also see more elaborate goat names like one of our girls: Lil Mtn Karamel Moonlight. In these instances, most goats will also have a call or herd name that is shorter. In this case, it is Kara.
Milk Production in Goat Pedigrees
The next piece you will often see are *M or *D. These indicate that a goat has achieved an award for milk production (these can be either based on volume or milk components). M is used in ADGA while D is used in AGS. In bucks, you will see *B or *S and also +B and +S - they earn these based on daughters or dam's performance. In our original example above you will see 3*M. The number before the * indicates that she is a third generation star earner.
Conformation or Linear Appraisal Scores in Goat Pedigrees
The last piece you will see tagged onto a goat pedigree is their conformation scores or classification. In our example above, she has a Linear Appraisal Score (ADGA program) of VEEE90. The V's and E's represent different structural categories she is rated on. AGS also uses a similar program. If a goat has been judged in the AGS program, you will likely see just a letter and number such as E90.
Final Thoughts on Reading Goat Pedigrees
Ok, whew! So, now that you know all the letters, numbers and symbols, you should be able to better understand a goat's pedigree. And of course, if you are looking at the whole pedigree including the goats dam, sire, dam's dam and so on, you will be able to see what traits trend in their ancestry. This will hopefully allow you to make purchase decisions to help you get to the goals you are trying to achieve with your goats.