Nigerian Dwarf or African Pygmy? How can you tell? Why is registration important?🤔🤔
With the rise of miniature goats came the rise of misinformation and confusion. Does it even matter? Well if you want them for pets and don’t plan on breeding or selling, no it does not matter. The difference between them becomes important when you buy them for their intended purpose or for breeding. Nigerian Dwarfs are dairy goats and pygmy goats are for meat. Which means big differences in body type! Nigerian Dwarfs are leaner with more focus on udder capacity and milk quality. Pygmy goats are more broad and focus on meat production. You wouldn’t want a dairy goat with the small udder of a meat goat and you wouldn’t want a meat goat with the muscle mass of a dairy goat. So when looking for a specific purpose, it’s worth it to spend a little extra for registration to know you have exactly what you’re wanting. If you buy grade(not registered) there are a few things to look at to help you decide which breed the goat being offered for sale actually is. First look at body type! Is the goat broad, short necked, short legged, thick square headed? Or is it lean, slender necked, narrow faced, angle legged? Next you can look at coloration. Pygmy goats come in 7 colors while Nigerian Dwarfs come in a plethora of colors and patterns! You can find examples of colorations in the links below. Next you can look at eye color which is simple. Blue eyes = not Pygmy. This can mean Nigerian Dwarf or a mix of the two.
So why is registration important?
To simply put it, you never know what you’re gonna get with grade animals. Especially with such popular and misunderstood animals like miniature goats. Registrations prove lineage and you KNOW you’re getting what you paid for. They provide you with performance records several generations back from your goat so you can judge wether that animal is going to be of decent quality. The resell value is a plus as well!
Not every “breeder” puts years of work into improving their animals, some breeders won’t even know the difference between the two breeds. Do your research and make an informed choice! Most importantly, enjoy them! Which ever breed you decide is best for you, is sure to bring an amazing love with them!
Pygmy colors- http://www.npga-pygmy.com/resources/conformation/color_samples.asp
Nigerian Dwarf colors- https://www.nigeriandwarfcolors.com/coat-patterns.html
*Thank you to Heather Vernon for providing the pictures of her African Pygmy goats. Heather breeds NPGA Pygmy goats and is a standing member of NPGA*