Pygmy Goat

STATUSNot Yet Evaluated

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Capra aegagrus hircus

DIETHay, grain, fruits, vegetables, grass, leaves, shrubs

RANGENative to West Africa, but are now globally domesticated

HABITATHillsides, plains, and pastures

Pygmy Goat

Physical Description

Originally known as the Cameroon dwarf goats due to their native range across Cameroon in West Africa. Pygmy goats average 16-22 inches at the withers, or shoulders, and weigh 40-70 lbs. Males tend to be larger than females and can be identified by their beards. Horns on a male are typically longer and have more of a scimitar or spiraling shape. These goats are short and stocky with various coat colors including black, white, gray, and brown.

Pygmy goats are great climbers due to the hair which grows between their hooves and provides traction across smooth surfaces. Two-toed hooves aid in climbing and grip, allowing Pygmy goats to be agile climbers. Pygmy goats have rectangular pupils to allow them to see 280 degrees around their bodies to aid in spotting predators. Rectangular pupils can be seen across a variety of prey animals, as the shape of their pupil provides increased depth perception which is handy in spotting and evading nearby predators.

Like most ungulates (hoofed mammals), Pygmy goats have a four chambered stomach. Though technically only one stomach, the stomach consists of four separate sections to increase efficiency and allow for large amounts of food consumption at once. Within the stomach lives bacteria necessary to break down the grasses and leaves that Pygmy goats eat, allowing them to properly digest foods other animals are unable to. Pygmy goats can hold food in their stomach and regurgitate small portions at a time to continue to chew at later periods of time if necessary. This can come in handy if they spot a predator nearby and need to make a quick escape!


Predators they may encounter include coyotes, dogs, birds of prey, bobcats, and other large carnivores. In Africa, their native predators are jackals and big cats.


They live an average of 10-15 years.


Pygmy goats are year-round breeders. Males produce a strong musky odor from a scent gland on the crown of their head. Females do not have the scent gland.

After a 21-22-week gestation period, females will give birth 1-4 kids. Baby Pygmy goats are referred to as “kids” and often arrive as twins. Pygmy goats will stay with their mother for about 10 months, as the kids begin to wean off their mother’s milk as early as 12 weeks to enable the kids to browse independently. In their natural habitat, Pygmy goats will breed during colder months or earlier in the year so the 150-day gestation period ensures kids will be born in the spring and summer months, helping to give them the greatest chance for survival.

Fun Facts

      • Though there are now multiple subspecies and mixed species of Pygmy goats, Pygmy goats were originally named the Cameroon dwarf goat since they were native to Cameroon in West Africa.
      • This species is not usually considered a dairy breed but can produce 1-2 quarts of milk per day.
      • Pygmy goats never shed their horns so you can determine their age by counting the growth rings. The more rings going up the top of the horn, the older the Pygmy goat!
      • Goats were one of the first animals to be domesticated. Some believe they were the very first because goat domestication helped humans shift from hunter-gathers to agriculture-based societies.


Conservation Messaging

Goats as well as barnyard animals are commonly kept as pets on farms and ranches. It is always best to do your research before moving forward with purchasing any livestock. These animals require different needs from say your dog or cat.

For instance, most livestock animals are herd animals so having one is not an acceptable option. As always, every animal has individual needs that must be met in order to provide the best possible welfare which means you will need a veterinarian that specializes in hoofstock.

   Buy Tickets!   
Skip to content