Show Goat Breeds




About Marc MacDonald

I’ve been raising goats for nearly 20 years now. Over those years, I accumulated a lot of information about goats and what works and what doesn’t.

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Goat shows are popular all over the world, and people who enter can win ribbons as well as cash prizes. However, when it comes to show goats, there are a lot of questions you might have. What kind of goats can be show goats? Are there better show goat breeds, and some that are worse?  

Show Goat Breeds

Truth is, show goats can come in all shapes and sizes. However, there is a lot that you need to know about show goats before you go out and get some!

We will cover what you need to know in this article, so if you are interested in show goats, stick around! 

What is a Show Goat?

A show goat is simply a goat that is entered into competitions and shows by farmers. This can be with the hope of receiving recognition in a way – including awards, certificates, ribbons, or even money prizes. 

In order for a goat to be a show goat, they should be purebred goats, and have all the best qualities of that breed. This might include things like body shape, udder, horns, coloring, and anything else they judges are looking for. 

Depending on the breed, there will be different benchmarks to meet. These goats are split up into different categories, which may depend on breed, age, and sex. Take a look at your local goat shows to see what these are, as they could vary from one place to another. 

Show Goat Breeds

Can Any Kind of Goat be a Show Goat?

Yes and no. There are high standards when it comes to show goats, so you should only ever enter the best of the best. Your goats need to have strong features that represent their breed and category. 

Any breed can be a show goat, but some are more popular than others. We will go through some of the most popular show goat breeds in the sections below.

Just make sure that you understand what the breed standards are for your specific breed, so you know whether it is worth entering your animals into the competition. There will be a number of important details that you will need to take into consideration. 

Alpine Goats

Alpine goats are known for being hardy breeds with a strong work ethic – making them great animals to train! This breed is very friendly, and enjoys being in the company of people. 

They are easy to care for and don’t require a whole lot of care and attention, unlike some other breeds we will mention later. This makes Alpines perfect for anyone who is new to the world of goats, and want something easy to start with

You can use Alpine goats in shows for agility, since they are athletic and easy to train. Their attractive appearance also means that their coloring can vary hugely, so every goat will look different! Their adorable, large ears, will stand erect, too, so there’s a lot to enjoy with this wonderful breed.

Tennessee Goats (Fainting Goats)

You might not initially recognize the name “Tennessee goat”, but when you put the “fainting” in there, it all makes sense. Everyone knows about these adorable animals – they “faint” when they get a fright. It’s adorable, but this also means that these goats are not a good option for first-time goat owners. 

Tennessee goats might put on a good show, but you need to know how to handle them properly, because it’s easy for them to get hurt. If you don’t hold or handle them correctly, things can go wrong. 

With that being said, we can’t take away from the fact that they are excellent show goats. They have beautiful long necks and ears, and even come in a range of colors. There’s no denying that everyone loves these little guys.  

Show Goat Breeds

La Mancha

These relatively small goats are recognizable thanks to their unusual ears – or lack thereof! Their ears are so small, they often don’t even look like they have any, so there’s no mistaking these for another breed. 

They are smaller than many other breeds, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t back a punch when it comes to personality. This breed comes in a variety of colors, and there are even long and short hair varieties to choose from. 

Since they are easygoing, you don’t have to worry about them being difficult to deal with, either. They will excel in events where agility is key, and they are great at thinking on their hooves. 

Spanish Goats

Looking for a small goat that you will still be impressed by? Look no further than the wonderful Spanish goat – which rarely exceeds 75 lbs! They can come in a wide variety of colors, from white to buckskin and everything in between Coats can be long or short, meaning they can be eye-catching wherever they go.

One of the best things about this breed is how trainable they are due to their intelligence. This breed is very responsive, and is capable of great things. However, be aware that with intelligence comes the need for patience. They might have a mind of their own, and might not always take to training too well if they aren’t in the mood for it. 


There is no mistaking the Angora goat. This breed is covered in luxurious wool that makes them look more like a sheep than goat – but goats they are! There’s no way you could enter an Angora into a show goat competition and not turn heads, because these things are impressive. 

This breed isn’t the smallest, and can reach up to 200 lbs. However, because of their wool, they require a lot of extra care and attention. For this reason, if you don’t have the time and experience to deal with it, we would not recommend first-time owners getting these goats. 

Oberhasli Goats

Often known as the “gentle giants” of the goat world due to their impressive size, the Oberhasli goats are still wonderfully calm and patient. They have a similar appearance to Alpine goats, with large, erect ears and varying colors.

Colors range from bay to chocolate, with some being black or brown. They are excellent in shows where they pull carts, and they also do well in conformation classes. 

With these goats, you get the typical elegant look of the goat with a fantastic temperament, without having to sacrifice anything. They are easy to care for, too, so beginners wouldn’t struggle with these lovely animals. 

Nigerian Dwarf

As the name suggests, the Nigerian dwarf goat is smaller than your usual suspect, but they certainly have a lot to offer. This breed is among the smallest, and will make fantastic show animals and pets. 

These animals are praised for their intelligence, as well as their gentle and loving temperament. They have plenty of spirit, and will always bring a smile to your face. 

Show Goat Breeds Source
Nigerian Dwarf, one of the common show goat breeds, being shown at the Baker County Fair in Oregon.

Nubian Goats

As one of the most popular goat breeds around, the Nubian are both beautiful and easygoing. This breed is known for their prominent Roman noses paired with long, droopy ears. They are relatively small, and easy to work with, so they shouldn’t stress you out too much. 

Thanks to their lovely temperaments and easygoing personality, these goats do well in a variety of competitions. However, their short coats and bold color variations mean that they are perfect for an eye-catching show goat. 

Kiko Goats

These hardy but attractive goats will do well in harsh climates where other breeds might not thrive. They are known for their long ears and fluffy tails, and will be sure to be an eye-catching goat at any show. 

This breed is highly sought after thanks to its delicious meat – yes, this is a meat goat. The meat is mild and has a wonderfully lean texture. However, whether you want to enjoy this goat on the dinner table or the arena, they do well for both. 

Cashmere Goats

Finally, the wonderful Cashmere goat is another popular show goat breed that you may want to consider. As the name suggests, their coats are prized for the cashmere wool. This has been used for making clothing for hundreds of years, and has remained popular. 

Although this breed is not as energetic as many others, their coats mean that you need to put in a lot of extra work to maintain them. Extra combing and grooming will be required, because you definitely cannot leave them to get matted up. 

Video: Complete County Fair Goat Showing

High quality footage of an entire showing of goats at a state fair! A great video that will include whatever part of showing a goat is of particular interest to you.

Video of the entire showing of goats at a 2018 county fair – high quality footage!

Final Thoughts

There are lots of fantastic goat breeds that are used as show goats. Depending on the category, you may want different goats for different things. The goats we’ve mentioned here tend to do well in a variety of things, and are attractive overall. 

However, you should remember that any goat you wish to enter into a show goat competition should be purebred. Your local competition, however, will outline the requirements so that you know what you are signing up for. 

Every place may run on different rules, so double-check before spending any money!

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