The goat has often been called the poor man’s cow.
Whether we could say there are any poor men now may be open to question but there is no question of the value of the goat!
Perhaps, to most people, a goat is just simply a goat, though some will refer to modern short-haired goats as Nubians.
Actually genuine Nubians are quite rare animals and are really the Zaraiby goats of the East.
The short-haired animals we see about the country sprung from one or other of the milking breeds from Switzerland.
It is just such misunderstandings as this which shows can help to clear up in the public mind.
This year, for the first time since before World War II, goats will be on display at the Royal Ulster Show.
It is due entirely to the efforts of the Ulster Goat Society – which was formed a few years ago – that the goat has made such a splendid comeback in Northern Ireland.
The Ulster Goat Society is affiliated to the British Goat Society which has been in existence since 1879 and its Herd Book since seven years after that.
When the selective breeding of goats began in the British Isles available foreign blood was used to try and improve the milk production of native stock.
With the passing of time still more attention has been given to keeping some of the imported breeds pure.
The outcome of this is that our own native breeds here and in Great Britain have virtually ceased to exist in a
The blood of the Swiss breeds is widespread.
The following are the breeds recognised by the British Goat Society and, of course, by the Ulster Goat Society.
The Toggenburg in which only animals in direct line from those originally imported are eligible for registration – mainly fawn in colour.
The Saanen – usually regarded as the heaviest milking foreign breed of goat. Colour completely white.
The British-Toggenburg which is founded on selected stock from crosses of Toggenburg on British stock.
The British-Saanen founded similarly with the use of Saanen on British stock. Both these breeds resemble their imported line cousins.
The British Alpine – this breed has not, like the foregoing two, an imported pure line.
The exact foreign background is not known other than that a single goat from Alpine stock was imported from Paris Zoo on which several strains were founded.