Nigerian Dwarf Goat

Nigerian Dwarf Goat


Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae 
Taxonomic Name: Capra hircus (domestic goat)
Range: They are found world-wide, but originated in West Africa.

Habitat: They are domestic and kept in captivity. 

Physical Characteristics: Full-grown animals range from 16-21 inches tall at the withers for does and 23.5 inches tall at the withers for bucks. They weigh an average of 60-80 pounds and come in a variety of colors. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are ideally supposed to look like small dairy goats.

Social Structure: They are herding animals and therefore live in herds in captivity.
Active Time: Diurnal 

Diet: Wild - Grasses and other vegetation
Zoo: Goat pellets and hay

Behavior: Nigerian Dwarfs are gentle and easily trainable goats. This, along with their small size and colorful appearance, makes them popular as pets. Many breeders sell bottle-fed babies that are bonded with humans and easy to manage. Nigerians can easily be trained to walk on a leash and some enjoy coming into the house with their owners. Nigerians' small size also makes them excellent "visitor" animals for nursing homes and hospitals.

Reproduction: Nigerians can breed year-round. Their pregnancy lasts approximately 155 days. After that they usually have twins, but triplets and quadruplets are common.

Interesting Facts: 
  • Nigerian Dwarf Goats have no upper teeth in the front of their mouths (incisors/canines)
  • Goats have horizontal pupils, which are thought to reduce glars, an adaptation which would have proven helpful to their mountain-dwelling ancestors.
  • Nigerian Dwarf Goats are believed to have first arrived in America as food source for zoo animals, such as lions and other cats. They proved to be so charming that they have become a staple in zoo contact areas around the country (although this breed is less common that others).
Relationship with Humans: In Africa, they are used as a milk and food source for nomadic people. These people would not be able to exist if not for these goats. In the U.S., they are used as a dairy goat breed.