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Breeding Up

By Janet Hurst

Standards set forth by the American Dairy Goat Association allow for the recording or registration of American Breeds. American Breeds are the result of four generations of does and five generations in bucks, of combining uncertain parentage with purebred pedigrees to reach an American status. The following breeds are recognized: American Alpine, American LaMancha, American Nubian, American Oberhasli, American Saanen and American Toggenburg. These breeds can be recognized within the Native on Appearance category, if the goat is of an unknown pedigree and conforms to a particular breed standard, and then bred up to American status. Another option for registration is the Native on Performance category which is based on performance if the doe meets or exceeds the minimum milk or butterfat requirements while on official milk test.

Grading up is the sequential use of purebred animals over a series of generations to provide a nearly purebred result. The usual sequence is that a purebred sire is used on females that are either crossbred or of another breed. The resulting offspring are half the pure breed of the sire. The daughters are then mated back to another sire of the breed, providing offspring that are 3/4 pure breed. The next generation provides offspring that are 7/8, then 15/16, 31/32, 63/64 and then 127/128 and so on.1

Recent statistics from American Dairy Goat Association National Shows offer a glimpse into the popularity of Recorded Grades. Results from 2006 note 90 junior does participating in the annual judging, along with 74 senior does, for a total of 164 entries. 2007 entries were 64 junior does and 74 senior does, total 138. 2008 entries were static with 61 junior does and 72 senior does judged for a total of 133 animals. By comparison, Nubians were at 187 junior does and 189 senior does, a total of 376 animals, roughly a third of the Recorded Grades.

1 Phil Sponenberg, Ph.D.

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