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Saanens

The Great White Goats

By Miriah Reynolds





Miriah loves the Saanen breed for their beautiful white color, large size, and people-pleasing characteristics. This is her favorite Saanen doe, Angel, believed to be in the 250-pound weight range.
Miriah loves the Saanen breed for their beautiful white color, large size, and people-pleasing characteristics. This is her favorite Saanen doe, Angel, believed to be in the 250-pound weight range.




SGCH Old English Tatiana (Best Udder ‘07 ADGA National Show, 1st place 3 yr old), owned by Carol Mann, Old English Saanens, Chino Hills, CA
SGCH Old English Tatiana (Best Udder ‘07 ADGA National Show, 1st place 3 yr old), owned by Carol Mann, Old English Saanens, Chino Hills, CA

The Saanen dairy goat, known for it’s large size and all-white color, originated in the Saanen Valley of Switzerland, south of Canton, Berne. In 1983 Saanens were recorded throughout Europe. The first Saanen arrived in the United States in 1904.

The physical traits of this breed are their erect ears, concave face, and large size. A mature doe can weigh 135 pounds or more, while a buck can grow to over 170 pounds. They are well suited to commercial dairy herds with their docile temperaments and high milk yields, even though butterfat tends to be slightly lower than other breeds. Their milk usually tests about 3.5 percent butterfat and 3 to 3.2 percent protein with 2,000 to 2,500 pounds of milk produced yearly. There have been 4,000 to 5,000 pound milk records recorded by Saanen does, with an all-time single doe record of 6,571 pounds.

Until a few years ago, Saanens that were not pure white or cream in color were discriminated against. White is the dominant color, but occasionally kids will be born from parents carrying a recessive color which may be black, brown or painted. These animals are known as “Sable” and are now recognized as a separate breed by registry organizations.

Saanen hair should be fine and short in length, though some genetic lines grow fringe around the thighs and spine. They tend to be quiet and easily handled despite their large size. They make excellent pack and cart goats because of their size, strength, and people-pleasing characteristics.





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