ADGA Breed Standards

American Dairy Goat Association currently maintains herd books for the following breeds of dairy goats:  Alpine, LaMancha, Nigerian Dwarf, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen, Sable and Toggenburg.

Complete and detailed information for registering and/or showing each breed is contained in the ADGA Guidebook. If you have any questions, please contact the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) office before you buy: Contact Us


The Alpine Dairy Goat is also referred to as the French Alpine and registration papers for this dairy goat use both designations and they are synonymous. The Alpine dairy goat is a medium to large size animal, alertly graceful, with erect ears, offering all colors and combinations of colors with distinction and individuality of appearance.

They are hardy, adaptable animals that thrive in any climate while maintaining good health and excellent production. The hair is medium to short. The face is straight. A Roman nose, Toggenburg color and markings, or all-white is discriminated against. Alpine colors are described by using the following terms:

  • COU BLANC (coo blanc) – literally “white neck” white front quarters and black hindquarters with black or gray markings on the head.
  • COU CLAIR (coo clair) – literally “clear neck” front quarters are tan, saffron, off-white, or shading to gray with black hindquarters.
  • COU NOIR (coo nwah) – literally “black neck” black front quarters and white hindquarters.
  • SUNDGAU (sundgow) – black with white markings such as underbody, facial stripes, etc.
  • PIED – spotted or mottled.
  • CHAMOISEE (shamwahzay) – brown or bay characteristic markings are black face, dorsal stripe, feet and legs, and sometimes a martingale running over the withers and down to the chest. Spelling for male is chamoise.
  • TWO-TONE CHAMOISEE – light front quarters with brown or gray hindquarters. This is not a cou blanc or cou clair as these terms are reserved for animals with black hindquarters.
  • BROKEN CHAMOISEE – a solid chamoisee broken with another color by being banded or splashed, etc.

Any variation in the above patterns broken with white should be described as a broken pattern such as a broken cou blanc.


The LaMancha goat was developed in the U.S.A. It has excellent dairy temperament and is an all-around sturdy animal that can withstand a great deal of hardship and still produce. Through official testing this breed has established itself in milk production with high butterfat.

The LaMancha face is straight with the ears being the distinctive breed characteristic. There are two types of LaMancha ears. In does one type of ear has no advantage over the other.

  1. The “gopher ear” is described as follows: an approximate maximum length of one inch (2.54 cm) but preferably nonexistent and with very little or no cartilage. The end of the ear must be turned up or down. This is the only type of ear which will make bucks eligible for registration.
  2. The “elf ear” is described as follows: an approximate maximum length of two inches (5.08 cm) is allowed, the end of the ear must be turned up or turned down and cartilage shaping the small ear is allowed.
  3. The ear is to be measured with a rigid measure placed firmly against the head at the base of the ear that is neither pulled nor stretched. Natural folds and creases of the ear are to be unaltered during measurement.

Any color or combination of colors is acceptable with no preferences. The hair is short, fine and glossy.

Nigerian Dwarf


The Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature breed of dairy goat originating in West Africa and developed in the United States. The balanced proportions of the Nigerian Dwarf give it the appearance of the larger breeds of dairy goats, but does stand no more than 22.5″ (57 cm) and bucks no more than 23.5″ (60 cm). Any color or combination of colors is acceptable. The medium length ears are erect and alert. The face is either straight or dished, and the hair is short and fine. (Refer to Appendix “Measuring the Nigerian Dwarf Breed”)


The Nubian is a relatively large, proud, and graceful dairy goat of mixed Asian, African, and European origin, known for high quality, high butterfat, milk production.

The head is the distinctive breed characteristic, with the facial profile between the eyes and the muzzle being strongly convex (Roman nose). The ears are long (extending at least one inch [2.54 cm] beyond the muzzle when held flat along the face), wide and pendulous. They lie close to the head at the temple and flare slightly out and well forward at the rounded tip, forming a “bell” shape. The ears are not thick, with the cartilage well defined. The hair is short, fine and glossy.

Any color or colors, solid or patterned, is acceptable.


The Oberhasli is a Swiss dairy goat. This breed is a medium size, vigorous and alert in appearance. Its color is chamoisee. Does may be black but chamoisee is preferred. Chamoisee is described as: Bay ranging from light to a deep red bay with the latter most desirable. A few white hairs through the coat and about the ears are permitted.

Markings are to be: two black stripes down the face from above each eye to a black muzzle; forehead nearly all black, black stripes from the base of each ear coming to a point just back of the poll and continuing along the neck and back as a dorsal stripe to the tail; a black belly and light gray to black udder; black legs below the knees and hocks; ears black inside and bay outside. Bucks often have more black on the head than does, black whiskers, and black hair along the shoulder and lower chest with a mantle of black along the back. Bucks frequently have more white hairs through the coat than does. Ears should be erect and alertly carried. The face is straight or dished. A Roman nose is discriminated against.


The Saanen dairy goat originated in Switzerland. It is medium to large in size with rugged bone and plenty of vigor. Does should be feminine, however, and not coarse. Saanen are white or light cream in color, with white preferred. Spots on the skin are not discriminated against. Small spots of color on the hair are allowable, but not desirable. The hair should be short and fine, although a fringe over the spine and thighs is often present. Ears should be erect and alertly carried, preferably pointing forward. The face should be straight or dished. A tendency toward a Roman nose is discriminated against.


The Sable dairy goat is medium to large in size with rugged bone and plenty of vigor. Does should be feminine, however, and not coarse. Their hair is short; ears should be erect and alertly carried, preferably pointing forward. The face should be straight or dished. The Sable may be any color or combination of colors, solid or patterned, EXCEPT solid white or solid light cream.


The Toggenburg is a Swiss dairy goat from the Toggenburg Valley of Switzerland. This breed is medium size, sturdy, vigorous, and alert in appearance. The hair is short to long in length, soft, and fine. Its color is solid varying from light fawn to dark chocolate with no preference for any shade.

Distinct white markings are as follows: white ears with dark spot in middle; two white stripes down the face from above each eye to the muzzle; hind legs white from hocks to hooves; forelegs white from knees downward with dark vertical stripe below knee acceptable; a white triangle on each side of the tail; white spot may be present at root of wattles or in that area if no wattles are present. Varying degrees of cream markings instead of pure white acceptable, but not desirable. The ears are erect and carried forward. Facial lines may be dished or straight, never Roman.