28 Things You Didn’t Know About Goats

Baby goats are as cute as puppies.

Goats and humans have a long and productive history together.

They are friendly, clean, and many have beards, which makes for funny appearances.

Here are lots of interesting goat facts.


Goats and sheep are related. They are from the same subfamily but are a different genus.
Goats are built a bit lighter, have shorter tails, and their horns arch backward.

Both male and female goats have horns. These are used to regulate their internal temperature and defend themselves against threats.
Their black horns grow up to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) long.

Beards, just like horns, are not the male goat's property. Both sexes can have beards.
Male goats usually have more prominent beards. Though both female and male goats can have tufts of hair under their chin, beards on female goats are not as commonly seen as on male goats. Not all female goats have beards.

A goat's mouth does not have the top front teeth. Interestingly, they have lower front teeth which they use for foraging and tearing off rough fibers.
Front teeth are usually incisors that help carnivores to tear meat apart, and goats are not carnivores.

A male goat is called a billy or a buck.This is where the name "billy goat" comes from.
A female goat is called a nanny or a doe.

A baby goat is called a kid. A group of kids is called a tribe or a herd of kids.
Goats can give birth to twins, triplets, and even quadruplets!

The typical length of pregnancy of a goat, or gestation period, is 145 to 150 days from the date the female goat was exposed to (or bred by) the buck.
This may vary depending on factors like their breed or environment.

Goats were the first animals successfully raised to work and provide food sources and materials.

It is thought that goats were first domesticated in the East during prehistoric times, around the same time humans started growing crops.

There are hundreds of different goat breeds.
Some of the most popular breeds are Angora and Boer goats.
Goat breeds have originated from many countries, including Somalia, Spain, and Hungary.
There are more than 200 recognized breeds of domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus), falling into four categories defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: dairy goats, Spanish or Mexican goats (raised for meat), South African boers (an adaptable breed that can rebreed while nursing), and Angora goats (raised for wool).

There are millions of domesticated goats worldwide today, most of which are in China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria.

For centuries, goats have been used as a source of food. People have enjoyed their meat, milk, and cheese for many years.

One goat is capable of producing around 1-10 quarts (0.95-9.5 liters) of milk every day.
Just one or two goats could provide enough milk to feed a family for a year.
In China, Great Britain, Europe, and North America, the goat is primarily a milk producer.

Goat meat is the most popular meat in the world.
It is eaten by a majority of the world's population across almost all continents, including Africa and Asia.

Global goat meat exports are worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
As of 2024, Australia, Ethiopia, and Kenya were the world's top three exporters.

Goat leather is known for being strong, soft, and supple. It is used to make bags, jackets, and small leather goods such as wallets.

Goats have horizontal pupils.
The horizontal shape allows them to see predators approaching from all sides.

Goats bleat when they are impatient or trying to communicate with each other.
This behavior can sometimes be depicted as goats "screaming."

Christopher Columbus brought goats to the Americas in 1493. They arrived alongside horses, sheep, pigs, and other animals.

A cashmere goat (also known as Tibetan plateau goat) produces cashmere wool, a soft, fine, downy winter undercoat for commercial quantity and quality.

Miniature goats , such as the Nigerian Dwarf, are increasingly popular as pets, which is no surprise given how adorable and friendly they are.
Miniature goats are also bred for small-scale milk production.

The North American mountain goat looks different from many other types of goat.
Mountain goats are found at higher elevations, and only in North America.
It is not a typical goat and is more closely related to the chamois.
Their thick coats are much furrier than true goats.
Their skull bones are lighter. And their horns are relatively short and slender.
They are not built for the epic battles that characterize the males of true goats.
Mountain goats can weigh from 125 to 180 lbs. (57 to 82 kilograms) and grow from 49 to 70 inches (124 to 178 centimeters) long.

Billy goats urinate on their own heads to smell more attractive to females.

The rare Argania tree in Morocco produces such irresistible fruit each summer that local goats perch on its branches like birds so they can have a delicious feast.

Goats might not seem like the most cuddly animals, but researchers have found evidence that goats are as clever as dogs, and just as capable of building emotional relationships with humans as all the other domesticated animals we've let into our hearts and homes.

Goats are excellent swimmers but prefer to be on land and try to get out of the water as fast as possible.

A goat represents the zodiac sign Capricorn.
The Capricorn symbol, or glyph is the Sea Goat.

Faun, in Roman mythology, a creature that is part human and part goat, akin to a Greek satyr.

Britannica - Goat / RSPCA / Worldostats / Wikipedia - Goatskin / Chelsea Green Publishing / Wikipedia - Cashmere goat / World's Top Exports / The Lange Law Firm / Anchor / Smithsonian's National Zoo / Backyard Goats / Britannica - Mountain goat / AG Daily / Sunshine Farms / Oklahoma State University / Britannica - Animal eyes / Vice / MSD Manual / Wikipedia - Faun / Simple Living Country Gal / Homestead on the Range / BCSPCA / Cornell CALS / British Goat Society / The Fact Site / shenhuifu1, 2
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