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Most Heat and Cold Hardy Goat Breeds

Most Heat and Cold Hardy Goat Breeds


Are you living in an area with extreme weather conditions and looking for hardy goat breeds that can withstand scorching heat and cold?

If yes, you came to the right place! In this article, we’ll unveil the hardiest goat breeds you can ever find on this planet.

In particular, you’ll discover:

  • Meat goats that can overcome any climate mother nature throw
  • Resilient dairy-producing ruminants that can navigate steep, rocky, and rugged terrains
  • And prolific milk producers that can withstand extreme cold during the winter season

Whether you’re living in a cold or hot region, you’ll highly benefit from this comprehensive list of hardy goats you can choose from.

So, without further ado, let’s unveil the hardiest breed of goat that can survive high temperatures.

9 Heat Hardy Goat Breeds

Goats react differently to heat waves, and some are more tolerant to cold than others.

So, if you’re living in a hotter region, it’s best to choose a breed that works and produces best in your area.

But what is the hardiest goat breed of all?

Hardiest Goat Breeds: Spanish Goats

1. Spanish Goat

Sitting on the top of our hardy goat breed’s list is the Spanish goat which made its way into the New World thanks to Spanish explorers in the 17th century.
They have a curious but calm disposition, although they’re less tamed than Boer goats.

There are six types of Spanish goats which include:

  • Murciana-Granadina
  • Palmera
  • Malagliena
  • Majorejera
  • Tinerfena
  • Guadarrama

These hardy goat breeds are also called brush goats, scrub goats, and hill goats because they’re excellent at clearing brushes and can survive living in rugged terrains.

These exceptionally hardy goats can overcome any climate Mother Nature throws, and they’re known for their tender and moist meat.

But you can also use them for milk and leather production.

Oftentimes, they’re bred with Boer goats for better meat production capabilities or fiber goats for increased cashmere production.

Aside from their innate ability to withstand heat, their horns also help them withstand high temperatures by dissipating heat.

Spanish Goat

Average Height: 20 inches
Average Weight: Does: 100 to 150 pounds
Bucks: 200 to 250 pounds
Purpose: Meat production and brush clearing
Temperament: Curious, less tamed but docile
Colors: Black, white, fawn, grey, and brown
Origin:  Spain

Hardy goat breeds: Alpine Goat

2. Alpine Goat

Next on our hardy goats’ list are the Alpine goats.

Their roots can be traced back to the French Alps.

But you’re probably wondering why these creatures are incredibly hardy when their country of origin is not known for extreme heat.

Well, Alpine goats are naturally adaptable to any climate; that’s why they can withstand heat.

And just like Spanish goats, navigating steep and rocky terrains is not difficult for them because they come from a region with mostly steep pastures.

Alpine goats excel in milk production and can compete with the Saanen breed in terms of milk quantity.

On top of that, they’re usually friendly and amiable, making them an excellent hardy dairy goat choice.

Alpine Goat

Average Height: Does: 83 cm
Bucks: 95 cm
Average Weight: Does: 135 to 155 pounds
Bucks: 176 to 220 pounds
Purpose: Dairy production
Temperament: Friendly, sweet
Colors: White, gray, brown, or black
Origin:  French Alps

Hardy Goat Breeds: San Clemente Goat

3. San Clemente Goats

These fine-boned, deer-like goats also deserve a spot on this hardy goat breed’s list.

San Clemente goats range from small to medium size and are adaptable in various climates and self-sufficient.

But they’re hard to find because they’re critically endangered.

When the US Navy took control of San Clemente Island in 1934, they became troublesome to native plants and wildlife.

This is why they conducted a systematic removal program to reduce the goat population.

In the 1980s, there were only 4,000 remaining goats on the island.

And sadly, the goat population removal was even heightened using a more cruel way of shooting the goats with helicopters.

It wasn’t until the animal welfare group Fund for Animals blocked this order in court.

In accordance with the court’s ruling, goat trappers were employed to remove some 3,000 goats off the island so they could be brought back into domestication.

Thanks to their effort, the breed was preserved, although they’re still endangered to this day.

San Clemente Goat

Average Height: Does: 23 to 24 inches
Bucks: 25 to 27 inches
Average Weight: 35 to 130 pounds
Purpose: Brush clearance and dairy production
Temperament: Gentle but alert
Colors: White, red, or tan with black markings
Origin:  Spain

Hardy Goat Breeds: Galla Goat

4. Galla (Somali) Goat

Now we’re down to our fourth pick, the Galla goats, also known as Somali, which are originally from Kenya.

Galla is the go-to dairy goat breed in East African countries, and for good reasons.

This goat breed is often large and has a gorgeous white coat with a reddish tinge or brown and black patches and a calm disposition.

Researchers first developed it to provide solutions to poverty and hunger in the Nyando district of Kenya.

Does are prized for its capacity to reliably produce milk and meat under challenging circumstances where water and fodder are frequently in short supply.

Furthermore, Gallas are good mothers and do mature quickly, and the breed has a lot of potential for the hot, dry region.

Galla Goat

Average Height: Does: 26 inches
Bucks: 30 inches
Average Weight: Does: 121 pounds
Bucks: 154 pounds
Purpose: Meat and milk production
Temperament: Friendly
Colors: White, cream, brown, and black with brown or black patches
Origin:  East Africa

Hardy Goat Breeds: Pygmy

5. Pygmy Goats

Gracing this list is another tiny goat breed that is popular as a pet; the pygmy goat.

This breed may be miniature in size, but they’re prized for their wonderful personality and milk with high butterfat content, which is approximately 6 percent(that is thrice the butterfat content of other large breeds!)

Additionally, they’re hardy, intelligent, and highly adaptable.

They can even help you clear short brushes in overgrown fields or pastures because they enjoy foraging just as larger breeds.

Others decided to raise Pygmy as pets because these precious creatures are overwhelmingly adorable and friendly and perfect companions for kids.

But you can also breed them for milk since they are capable of producing two quarts per day of milk high in calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.

Pygmy Goat

Average Height: Bucks: 23 inches (58 cm)
Does: 22 inches (56 cm)
Average Weight: Bucks: 60–86 pounds (27–39 kg)
Does: 53 to 75 pounds(24–34 kg)
Purpose: Meat and milk production, pet
Temperament: Docile, friendly
Colors: Black, white, gray, and brown
Origin:  West Africa

Hardy Goat Breeds: Nigerian dwarf

6. Nigerian Dwarf

Another miniature breed that deserves a spotlight on this list of hardy goat breeds is the Nigerian Dwarf, the goat with the highest butterfat content ranging from 5 to 10 percent.

They’re literally small but incredible because they can produce up to a gallon of milk daily at their peak!

These compact goats can also withstand extreme weather fairly well and enjoy foraging.

Just like pygmy goats, they’re also popular as pets due to their adorable personality and calm disposition.

They bond quickly with their owners and kids.

Furthermore, they can breed all year round and produce twins and even quadruplets.

Nigerian Dwarf Goat

Average Height: Does: 22.5 inches
Bucks: 23.5 inches
Average Weight: Does: 17 to 19 inches
Bucks: 19 to 21 inches
Purpose: Milk production and pet
Temperament: Docile, gentle gregarious
Colors: Black, chocolate, and gold
Origin:  West Africa

Hardy Nubian Goats

7. Nubian

Nubians, the popular dairy goats, are also worth mentioning on this hardy goat breed’s list due to their adaptability to every North American climate and extreme weather conditions.

These goats are the most vocal and energetic of all.

But their milk that contains high butterfat content makes up for it.

The huge pendulous ears that are both long and wide are the most recognizable characteristic of the Nubians.

Their coats are short, fine, and glossy, and they have a prominent convex profile.

These medium-sized goats come in a variety of brown hues and marking styles.

Nubian Goat

Average Height: 30 inches
Average Weight: 100 to 250 pounds
Purpose: Dairy and meat production
Temperament: Friendly but noisy
Colors: Black, red, or tan
Origin:  Africa

brown sable goat


8. Sable Goats

In case you didn’t know, Sable goats are descendants of Saanen, an equally hardy breed which explains why they can withstand hot climates.

These hardy goats are also intelligent and friendly in nature, and they can offer flavorful and moist meat and rich, tasty milk with 3 to 4 percent butterfat content.

Sables are usually kept for their coloring and the fact that it has retained all the good Saanen goat characteristics.

Due to their light complexion, white Saanens do poorly in hot, sunny settings, and they are more likely to develop skin cancer due to their fair skin.

But Sable has no skin issues, thanks to their skin color. That’s why they’re the go-to breed of buyers coming from tropical countries.

Sable Goat

Average Height: Does: 30 inches
Bucks: 32 inches
Average Weight: 132 to 187 pounds
Purpose: Milk production
Temperament: Docile and friendly
Colors: Black, brown, gray
Origin:  Saanen breed of Switzerland

rangeland goat


9. Rangeland Goats

Now we’re down to our last pick, the Rangeland goats hailing from the land of Australia.

This breed is raised and widely exported throughout the world for its meat.

Australian rangeland can survive hot weather and rugged terrain.

It can even survive drought and in a sparsely forested area; that’s why it’s worth mentioning on this list of hardy goat breeds.

Oftentimes, Australian rangeland is crossed with Boer goats to produce rapidly growing meat goats.

But they’re not commonly found in many US regions despite their popularity in their native land.

Rangeland Goat

Average Height: 28 to 35 inches 
Average Weight: 100 to 180 pounds
Purpose: Meat production
Temperament: Aloof but friendly
Colors: Black, brown, white, or a combination of various colors 
Origin:  Australia


Now that you’ve discovered the list of most heat-hardy goats, you may wonder what breeds are ideal for winter and colder regions.

Well, in this section, we’ll jump into winter goat breeds you can choose from.

6 Most Cold Hardy Goat Breeds

Here are the most hardy goats that can survive winter and cold temperatures.

If you think fiber goats will make it into this list, you might be surprised by what you’re about to discover.

Cold Hardy Goat Breeds: Alpine

1. Alpine Goats

Yes, you read it right!

Aside from being heat-hardy, Alpine goats are also blessed with winter adaptability, which means they can withstand the cold season.

How is that possible?

Well, their dense coat, slender bodies, and long legs help them survive extremely low temperatures and transverse snow drifts just like their earlier ancestors.

So, this is an ideal cold hardy goat breed to raise if you want a goat that you have to bring through the winter.

Alpine Goat

Average Height: Does: 83 cm
Bucks: 95 cm
Average Weight: Does: 135 to 155 pounds
Bucks: 176 to 220 pounds
Purpose: Dairy production
Temperament: Friendly, sweet
Colors: White, gray, brown, or black
Origin:  French Alps

Cold Hardy Goat Breeds: Oberhasli

2. Oberhasli Goats

This medium-sized breed appears alert and rigorous, and it’s worth mentioning on this list due to its ability to withstand cold weather.

The magnificent look and calm, gentle demeanor of this breed, which is not as widespread as some of the other dairy goats, are helping it gain appeal across the United States.

Some people believe that Oberhasli milk, which is excellent and sweet, is the goat milk that tastes the most like cow’s milk.

It is also widely used in Italy to make cheese, yogurt, and ricotta.

Oberhasli Goat

Average Height: Does: 28 inches
Bucks: 30 inches
Average Weight: Does: 120 lbs. and above
Bucks: More or less 150 lbs.
Purpose: Dairy production
Temperament: Friendly, gentle, and quiet, but alert and competitive
Colors: Light tan, reddish brown, or black
Origin:  Switzerland

Cold Hardy Goat Breeds: Saanen

3. Saanen Goats

Saanen, the Queen of milk production and ancestors of the Sable breed is highly adaptable to cold weather, making it an ideal choice for those living in colder climates.

These majestic white Swiss goats are prized for their docile nature and ability to produce up to 4 liters of milk daily.

They can even give you 5 liters daily at the peak of their lactation!

But as said earlier, they’re sensitive to sunlight due to their skin color, so they perform best in cooler regions and need lots of shade wherever they are.

Saanen Goat

Average Height: Does: At least 30 inches 
Bucks: 32 inches
Average Weight: Does: 135 pounds
Bucks: 170 pounds
Purpose: Milk production
Temperament: Sweet, friendly, and calm
Colors: All white or light cream
Origin:  Switzerland

Cold Hardy Goat Breeds: Toggenburg

4. Toggenburg Goats

The Toggenburg goat has its roots in the cold because it hails from Europe’s Toggenburg Valley, which receives a significant quantity of snow for the majority of the year.

This type of goat is well renowned for its exceptional winter milking ability.

And it also has long, slender legs that extend over the snow and long, slim bodies.

It’s also popular in the dairy industry due to its ability to produce three to five liters of milk daily.

Toggenburg Goat

Average Height: Does: 70 cm
Bucks: 75 cm
Average Weight: Does: 120 lbs
Bucks: 154 lbs
Purpose: Dairy production
Temperament: Gentle
Colors: Light fawn to dark chocolate
Origin:  Switzerland

Cold Hardy Goats: Kiko

5. Kiko Goats

The Kiko goat hailing from New Zealand, is next on our winter hardy goat breed list.

Like other strong breeds, Kiko goats are alert, active, calm, and easy-going.

Kikos are often white. However, they can also come in other colors and still have a full-blooded pedigree.

They’re popular in the meat production department, but you can also use them to clear brushes because they’re excellent foragers.

It is often compared to a Boer goat, but a Kiko has a better meat-to-bone ratio than a Boer.

Therefore it may not get as big as a Boer, but it does have more consumable products per pound.

Kiko Goat

Average Height: Does: 26 to 30 in or 66 to 76 cm
Bucks: 30 to 37 in or 76 to 94 cm
Average Weight: Does: 100 to 180 lbs or 45 to 83 kg
Bucks: 200 to 250 lbs or 90 to 114 kg
Purpose: Meat production
Temperament: Easy going, active and alert, hardy, but calm and gentle, friendly
Colors: Solid cream or white, sometimes having a shade of black
Origin:  New Zealand

Nigerian Dwarves

6. Nigerian Dwarf

We’re wrapping up this list with none other than the Nigerian Dwarves.

I guess you may be wondering how this miniature goat breed with a compact body can withstand cool temperatures.

Well, their thick bodies generate a cashmere undercoat that puffs out to envelop the goat and trap body heat to help them manage the cold with ease.

The Nigerian Dwarf appears fuzzy in the winter due to this adaption to the cold.

Due to its size, the Nigerian Dwarf is not always a top contender for producing meat, but it’s raised for milk and as a pet.

Nigerian Dwarf Goat

Average Height: Does: 17 to 19 inches
Bucks: 19 to 20 inches
Average Weight: 75 pounds
Purpose: Milk production and exhibition
Temperament: Sociable, friendly, and hardy
Colors: Black, chocolate brown, and gold
Origin:  West Africa


How to Help Heat Hardy Goat Breeds Thrive

No matter what hardy goat breed you choose to raise, you must provide the following essentials to increase their capability to endure the heat.

These are the basic needs of every goat that you should know about, especially if you live in a region with a hot climate.

1. Plan Ahead

Before getting any hardy goat breed, you must plan ahead for the purpose of raising goats and their dietary requirements.

Healthy goats with plenty of clean and fresh water have a higher chance of surviving heat.

So you must ensure they get the nutrients they need to withstand heat.

2. Provide Shade

Make sure there are trees in your pasture or at least open barns or structures, tarps, or tall brushes where they can get covered from the sun and rest.

As much as possible, try to make the shade structure big enough or plant more trees for your herd.

You can even provide a fan for increased ventilation if you can access electricity because goats love resting together.

And they’ll surely appreciate it if you can give them a fan that provides cool airflow.

3. Make Water More Accessible

Goats need more water when the summer heat gets even hotter.

So give your goats access to fresh, clean water to prevent dehydration.

Don’t forget to clean their water container frequently with a scrub because algae and scum can quickly develop in water containers that sit in the sun.

4. Give Time for Rest

Prolonged exposure to heat can cause heat stress in goats.

So, don’t overwork your goats during summer days.

If they’re panting or have lost appetite, don’t overlook these signs because it may be caused by heat exhaustion.

How to Help Cold Hardy Goat Breeds Endure Winter

Just like the heat-hardy goats, all winter goats also need your support and protection to survive the coldest season of the year, especially when they’re kidding.

So, here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re planning to raise, may it be for milk, breeding, or fiber or meat production.

1. Build a Shelter

One of the most crucial needs of goats during winter is a warm, clean, and comfortable shelter with proper ventilation.

A three-sided shelter is enough as long as it’s not facing the wind and the goats are protected from the elements and can stay dry.

It’d be even better if you could add a straw or shavings for insulation and bedding so they can sleep comfortably.

2. Intervene During Kidding

Some does have to deliver their kids in winter.

If that’s the case for your goats, no matter how hardy they are, you must supervise them through this phase.

You can help them by providing a heating pad for shivering kids and does and patting the babies with a towel to increase their temperature while their mother is trying to conserve energy.

3. Provide Sufficient Food

Since goats can’t forage for food during the winter season, you need to provide your goats with adequate, high-quality hay.

If their rumen has enough food to digest, it can generate heat from within.

However, to prevent them from overeating and becoming overweight, it’s best to use a slow feeder that they can access hourly.

4. Make Sure They’re Free of Parasites

Goats suffering from parasite overload have a lower chance of surviving winter because they need to fight against worms for nutrients and to have a stable body.

So make sure to get rid of and protect them from parasites.

5. Keep Them in Large Numbers

Our final tip is to keep your goats together so they can warm each other and the barn.

Of course, their dense and thick coat can help, but they’re better kept together during the cold season.

Goats walking with a child

Frequently Asked Questions About Hardy Goat Breeds

What is the best goat for hot weather?

The best goats for hot weather are Spanish, Alpine, San Clemente, Pygmy, Nigerian Dwarf, and Galla and Nubian goats.

They’re all efficient foragers and can withstand heat and extreme weather conditions.

What is the most disease-resistant goat?

One of the most disease-resistant breeds is Kiko goats which are originally from New Zealand.

They’re well-adapted to different climates and are parasite-tolerant and naturally resilient.

Can goats get too hot in the sun?

Yes, they can experience heat stress when exposed to extreme heat of around 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit for a long time.

And in worse cases, it can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Do goats like hot water?

Goats prefer drinking warm water over cold water.

However, giving warm water to lactating goats living in hot ambient conditions is not advisable.

What goats are resistant to parasites?

Kiko, Spanish, and Myotonic goats tend to be more parasite-resistant, according to a Tennessee State University’s research.

Furthermore, they also discovered that dairy breeds are typically more susceptible to internal parasites.

How do you tell if a goat is overheating?

If your goat is experiencing excessive panting, lethargy, drooling, increased respiratory rate, and loss of appetite, your goat may be overheating or suffering from heat stress.

This is a serious condition that requires prompt action to bring the temperature down.

How do I cool down my goats?

You can help your ruminants by bringing them to a cooler area and providing fresh and cool water.

If your goat is a non-fiber one, you can also mist him to assist him in cooling down.

Goats under the sun

Most Hardy Goat Breeds: The Final Recap

Now, we’re wrapping up our list of the most hardy goat breeds.

The heat-hardy goats are Spanish, Alpine, San Clemente, Galla, Pygmy, Nigerian Dwarf, Nubian, Sable, and Rangeland goats.

On the other hand, the breeds with higher cold tolerance are Alpine, Oberhasli, Saanen, Toggenburg, Kiko, and Nigerian Dwarf.

As you probably notice, most cold hardy ruminants are dairy breeds.

But they still need shelter, adequate feed, and your support and protection to survive since each goat’s cold tolerance may vary.

And so as the heat hardy goats.

Even if they’re accustomed to the heat, they still need lots of clean and fresh water and shade.

It’s also worth noting that older and younger goats tend to be less tolerant of heat regardless of the breed.

Furthermore, light-skinned goats are prone to sunburn, while darker-colored ones overheat more quickly because their coat attracts the sun more.

That’s why you need to give special consideration to every goat and make adjustments if necessary.

READ NEXT: Meet 15 of The Friendliest Goat Breeds: Perfect for Farms and Pets


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