Sara Dzimianski of Violet Vale Farm near Fort Valley, Georgia became interested in Golden Guernsey dairy goats in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2007 that she was able to breed one of her Saanen does to a purebred GG buck and create Violet Vale Pandora, a foundation doe for the new breed. Since then her herd numbers have grown, much have Golden Guernsey numbers across the United States, and this past fall she organized a virtual show so breeders could exhibit and compete with their animals.
“Guernsey breeders are scattered across the country so it is difficult to get many breeders in one location for a live show,” Dzimianski said. “A virtual show is the most feasible option for showing the Guernseys. Not only does it allow breeders to see animals in other herds, it also helps us select future breeding stock based on what we see in the animals entered in the show.”
Dzimianski said photos of 16 Golden Guernsey dairy goats from six breeders across the country were entered in the virtual show.
“We collected photos from September 1-30, 2012,” Dzimianski said. “After photos were collected they were uploaded to an online album, assigned index numbers (so the judges wouldn’t know which goat belonged to whom), and then presented to the panel of judges. The judges volunteered their time to judge the animals based on photos and final placings were given in mid-November.”
Volunteer judges for the event were Julie Matthys, Karen White, and Gary Whitehead, all licensed with the American Dairy Goat Association, some with dual American Goat Society certification. They judged the golden goats using the same general scorecard approved for all dairy goats with points for general appearance, mammary system, dairy character, body capacity, and breed character.“We are seeing rapid expansion in the number of Guernsey goats in the United States since it is becoming easier to obtain breeding bucks now that there are a number of British Guernsey (graded up) bucks available at reasonable prices,” Dzimianski said. “Those involved in establishing and promoting the breed have intentionally kept prices in line with the prices of other high quality registered dairy goats in order to encourage breeders with modest means to work with the Guernsey breed.”
Dzimianski said there are pockets of Golden Guernsey breeders in Pennsylvania, New York, and New England, the Southeast, the Midwest, and the West Coast. The American Dairy Goat Association is in the process of developing a database to track Guernseys with the goal of developing a herdbook based on that database once they have sufficient numbers to meet breed standard.
“The problem we have had thus far is that the British Goat Society does not keep records of the descriptions of goats registered, and therefore BGS registered animals do not have all the information that ADGA needs,” Dzimianski said. “While we have a sufficient number of pedigrees and breeders, we are working on developing a database that includes descriptions of the animals so that ADGA can be satisfied that the Guernseys meet the criteria for recognition in every aspect.”
Dzimianski said she enjoyed working with a rare breed, in addition to raising and breeding Saanens at her farm.
“I am using the Saanen lines that I have developed over the past 13 years as the foundation for my Guernsey breeding up program,” she said. “While any Swiss-type doe may be used as a foundation, I believe that Saanens have a lot to add due to their productivity, quality mammaries, and bone structure. The Saanen white is also in the same color family as the Guernsey gold, reducing the likelihood of recessive color emerging later.”
Dzimianski said her Guernseys were on DHI test and will be appraised as soon as they are recognized by ADGA. She enjoys taking them with her to shows and expositions so that others get a chance to see the breed in person. She also said plans were in the works to create another virtual show late spring or early summer in 2013.
Grand Champion Doe: Bluecollar
Grand Chamption Buck: Snowbird
Jr. Champion Doe: Sixpoint
Grand Champion Doe/Best in
The Guernsey Goat Breeders of America held their first annual virtual show fall of 2012. Sara Dzimianski and Teresa Casselman co-chaired the show. The show was judged by a panel of three volunteer judges: Julie Matthys, Karen Smith, and Gary Whitehead. Five GGBoA members and one non-member entered 16 animals in the show. Results are as follows:
Grade Guernsey Division
(SR and FB does only)
No Junior Does Entered
Grand Champion Doe:
Violetvale Artemis SR030010D
Breeder/Owner: Sara Dzimianski
American Guernsey Division
(HB1, HB2 and BG does, HB2 and BG bucks)
Sixpoint Wellow HB077072D
Breeder/Owner: Teresa Casselman
Grand Champion Doe:
Bluecollar Lemondrop BG000235D
Breeder: Diane Gray
Grand Champion Buck:
Snowbird Angelo BG000333D
Breeder: Kate Posey
Owner: Teresa Casselman
Best Doe in Show: