One of the joys of owning goats is discovering the various breeds and colors available!
Thanks to years of selective breeding, it seems nowadays there’s an ideal goat breed suited for just about everyone in every size, shape, and color of the rainbow.
Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at five of the world’s most unique black and white goat breeds.
Keep in mind that some of these breeds are available in more colors than just black and white, too, so you have many options if you’re thinking of bringing any of them to your farm!
This stunning black and white breed of goat’s namesake has two unique origins!
It is named partly for the Valais region of Switzerland, where the breed was initially developed.
The “Blackneck” part of its name refers to the breed’s distinct coloration.
From the side, the Valais Blackneck goat looks like someone abruptly gave up painting a white goat black halfway through!
According to the breed standards, the “front half” of the Valas Blackneck’s body is solid black, with the black coloring extending from the head to the front limbs and belly.
The other half of the goat’s body is solid white, giving it an instantly recognizable, one-of-a-kind appearance.
In addition to its attractive coloration, this breed has long, soft, shaggy hair that begs to be hugged and petted.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking to adopt a Valais of your own, be prepared to do a bit of searching and potentially pay a pretty penny!
Today, these goats are primarily bred in Switzerland, Italy, and Germany, and the breed’s numbers are only around 5,000 or so total as of 2013.
As we mentioned earlier, some of these breeds are available in a wide range of coat colors!
The Nigerian Dwarf goat is popular amongst hobby farmers, mainly due to its small size, playful and agreeable temperament, and potential for dairy farming.
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You’ve also got a ton of color patterns to choose from if you adopt a few Nigerian Dwarf goats, ranging from solid white to auburn and brown to multicolor goats.
However, one of the breed’s most common color variations is black with white markings.
At only around 70 pounds and an average height of just 2′ feet tall, these small-sized goats are excellent for farmers working with limited space.
Because of their sociable, friendly personalities, they’re commonly found in petting zoos and kept as pets.
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They get along with other livestock animals like chickens, ducks, and horses and do incredibly well in large groups.
This particular breed is also widespread throughout Europe and North America, making Nigerian Dwarf goats fairly inexpensive and accessible.
These friendly animals breed easily in captivity and are generally very healthy and hardy.
The Maltese goat breed was developed and named after the Mediterranean island of Malta.
Historically, it’s been mainly bred as a dairy goat, as Maltese goat milk is noted to be especially tasty and mild compared to the milk of other dairy breeds, and it has a good milk production rate.
However, it has also become a fairly popular pet amongst hobby farmers for its unique appearance, agreeable temperament, and manageable size.
Mostly white, the Maltese has black markings primarily around its long, drooping ears on either side of its face.
Its hair is short and somewhat wiry around the head and neck, gradually becoming longer and more flowing around the goat’s body.
The goat’s long ears flare outward slightly at the ends in a bell shape.
Nowadays, Maltese goats are mostly raised in Italy, Turkey, and Greece for their milk on small-to-medium-sized farms.
Their milk is also commonly used to make cheeses, namely ricotta.
If you’re serious about raising dairy goats for milk production, the Maltese is an excellent choice.
At a glance, the Peacock goat breed’s coat coloration is almost like a swapped version of the Valais Blackneck.
The front half of the Peacock goat’s body has a primarily white coat with small black markings, while its rear end is mostly black with small, irregular white markings.
It is a medium-sized goat with large horns for its size and short, slightly upward-pointing ears.
Interestingly, this breed’s origins and namesake are a bit of a mystery.
Initially, it was known simply as the “striped goat.”
To be clear, we know the Peacock was originally developed in Switzerland, and they’ve been primarily raised as domestic dairy goats.
Its name, however, was most likely the result of a spelling error on behalf of a reporter covering the breed’s sudden popularity.
When the breed was first developed, a reporter misspelled the name of the breed, originally referred to as the “striped goat,” or Pfavenziege in German, resulting in it being widely known as the Peacock goat (Pfauhahn in German) for years to come. In addition to this common name, the breed is known as the “gray-black goat.”
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Perhaps one of the most popular black and white goat breeds is the British Alpine (not to be confused with the Alpine goat breed first developed in the French Alps), a large, hardy dairy breed developed in the early 1900s in the UK.
The Toggenburg and Nubian breeds were primarily used in its development.
By the 1960s, the breed had been successfully introduced to Australia and North America, and over time, it became a well-known and respected dairy breed worldwide.
Its mostly black coat is accented by unique “Swiss” markings, characterized by long, narrow white facial stripes, white feet, and white tail markings, though in rare cases, the coat is almost solid black.
Typically, the facial stripes end in a U-shape around the goat’s mouth.
The British Alpine breed likely gets these adorable markings from its Toggenburg genetics.
In addition to being popular milk goats, the British Alpine is also often kept as a pet.
This is mainly due to its active, outgoing, and hardy nature, which makes it fairly simple to care for and a delight to observe.