10 Best Goats for Beginners [Top Breeds for Dairy, Meat, and Pets!]

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This article is part of our Producing Dairy on the Homestead series.
This article is part of our Raising Meat on the Homestead series.

Are you a beginner farmer looking for the best goats to start your homestead? You’re in luck! We’re about to outline the best goats for beginners. 

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What Are the Best Goats for Beginners? 

  1. Nubian goats
  2. Pygmy goats
  3. Nigerian Dwarf goats
  4. Lamancha Goats
  5. Alpine Goats
  6. Saanen Goats
  7. Boers
  8. Kikos
  9. Oberhasli
  10. Toggenburg

Some of the best goats for beginners are Nubian and pygmy goats. Other good choices include Nigerian Dwarf goats, LaManchas, Alpines, Saanens, Boers, and Kikos. You will want to choose a goat based on its hardiness. Also – consider the primary goal for raising goats, such as meat or dairy.

You’ll also want to consider whether you plan on raising your goat as a pet or if it will strictly get raised for production. With that in mind, keep reading to find out some of the best goats for beginners.

cute pygmy goat and kids miniature breed
Pygmy goats are adorable! We think they’re probably the best goats for beginners overall. You’ll notice that these goats don’t rock a massive stature. Male and female pygmy goats only weigh up to 70 pounds. But they have excellent personalities – and we guarantee all who visit your homestead or farm will want to pet them. They’re so charming! (We also think these are the goats most likely to dwell in Hobbiton!)
The Best Goats for Beginners [Top Breeds for Dairy, Meat, and Pets!]
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What Is the Friendliest Breed of Goat?

While all goats are known for their friendly dispositions, some breeds are known for their affectionate nature. 

The Pygmy goat is one such breed. Native to Africa, these tiny goats are typically no more than two feet tall at the shoulder. Pygmy goats are social animals that enjoy being around people and other goats. They are also very curious and playful, making them a popular choice as pets. 

Another breed of goat known for its friendly personality is the Nigerian Dwarf goat. As the name suggests, these goats are native to Nigeria, where they got as dairy animals. However, they have become famous as house pets due to their small size and gentle nature. 

Nigerian Dwarf goats are also known for their tremendous intelligence, which makes them easy to train. 

Whether you’re looking for a pet or a farm animal, either of these friendly goat breeds would make a great addition to your family.

best dairy goat breeds alpine
This impressive goat specimen is also among our favorite goats for beginners. The Alpine goat! The mighty Alpine goats originally hail from the French Alps. If you want plenty of fresh goat milk, Alpines are excellent. The does are much larger than the pygmy goats – and are famous for producing thousands of pounds of delicious goat milk yearly. Get your homemade cookies ready!

What Is the Hardiest Breed of Goat?

Of all the breeds of goats, the Alpine is the hardiest. 

Originally from the mountainous regions of Europe, the Alpine is well adapted to cold weather and rough terrain. They are also known for their high milk production, and their milk is rich in butterfat and protein. 

Alpine goats come in various colors! But they all have erect ears and long, curved horns

Another hardy goat breed is the Boer. Boers are native to South Africa. Boer goats are resistant to many diseases that affect other breeds of goats, and they have a reputation for being excellent meat producers. Like Alpines, they have erect ears and long horns. But they are usually red or brown with white markings. 

The Alpine and the Boer are good choices for owners looking for a hardy goat breed.

Read More – How Often Should You Milk Your Goat? This Much!

What Is the Easiest Goat to Take Care of and Raise?

There are many different types of goats, each with its own unique needs. However, some goat breeds are easier to care for than others. 

For example, the Nigerian Dwarf goat is a small breed known for being easy to handle. They are also relatively low-maintenance and can do well on a hay and pasture diet.

Pygmy goats are another popular choice for beginners, as they are typically very friendly and easily trained. 

LaMancha goats make excellent goats for beginners. You’ll notice that they exhibit tiny ears and short noses. But they’re still adorable – especially the kids! LaMancha goats also have friendly personalities and make perfect pets. LaMancha goats have other benefits too! We read how one small LaMancha goat herd provided one Kansas family with more milk than they could drink. So the family started a goat milk store! We thought it was neat how the LaMancha goats helped the family start a business. From scratch! Who knew?

Best Dairy Goats for Beginners

The Best Goats for Milk on the Homestead (Top 5 Dairy Goat Breeds)

There are many different types of dairy goats, but not all of them are well suited for beginners. Some goats are more difficult to care for than others, and some produce less milk. 

Some of the best dairy goats for beginners include the Alpine, LaMancha, Nubian, Oberhasli, Saanen, and Toggenburg

These breeds are relatively easy to care for and produce a good amount of milk. In addition, they are typically docile and friendly, making them easy to handle. 

young toggenburg goat foraging in field
This young Toggenburg goat is a beautiful dairy animal and one of our favorite best dairy goats for beginners. They hail from Switzerland in the Toggenburg Valley. We also read that Toggenburg goats are the oldest known dairy goat breed. Another fascinating nuance about Toggenburg goats is that while they’re famous for delicious (and ample) goat milk – the fat content of their milk is only about 3.3%. That’s notably lower than other goat breeds on this list. (Most contain goat milk fat in the three to four percent range. But – Toggenburg is on the lower end. For sure.)

What Kind of Goat is Best for a Pet?

There are many goats to choose from if you consider making one a pet. 

Some popular breeds include the Alpine, Saanen, and Oberhasli. All of these breeds make excellent pets, but there are some things you should keep in mind when making your decision. 

Alpines are known for their friendly dispositions and outgoing personality. They are also relatively easy to care for and require minimal grooming. However, they can be surprisingly rambunctious and may not be the best choice if you have small children or other pets in the home. 

Saanens are known for being calm and gentle, making them ideal if you are looking for a laid-back pet. They are also easy to care for and have minimal grooming needs. However, they can be prone to obesity. It is vital to monitor their diet closely. 

Oberhaslis are another excellent choice for a pet goat. They are known for being gentle and intelligent, and they make compelling companion animals. They require more grooming than some other breeds, but they are generally low-maintenance overall. 

No matter which breed you choose, goats make great pets and can provide years of companionship.

Read More – The Best Hay for Goats! Which Hay is Best?

Best Meat Goats for Beginners

Meat goats can be a great addition to any farm or homestead, providing tasty, nutritious, and savory meat for your homestead. But if you’re new to raising goats, you may wonder which breed is best for you. 

One of the most popular best meat goats for beginners is the Boer goat. Originally from South Africa, Boer goats are well-adapted to hot, dry climates. They’re also known for their rapid growth rates and high levels of muscle mass. As a result, they’re often used for cross-breeding to produce offspring with superior meat quality. 

Another good meat goat for beginners is the Kiko goat. These goats are relatively hardy and require little in the way of special care or facilities. They also thrive on pasture alone, making them a more affordable option. 

Ultimately, the best meat goat for you depends on your circumstances. However, Boer and Kiko goats are excellent choices for those just getting started in the industry.

mighty boer goat in green pasture
Boers are the best meat goats for beginners if you want more meat on your farm! These goats are massive compared to other goats – and the bucks weigh up to 300 pounds! These lovely creatures eat a ton – so you’ll need plenty of hay for goats on hand. We also read that while Boer goats (originally) come from South Africa – the Boer goats in the US came from New Zealand in the mid-1990s.

What to Know Before Getting Goats

There’s a reason goats have been called the new dogs. They’re incredibly versatile creatures that can get used for many purposes – from providing milk and cheese to clearing brush and weeds. If you’re thinking about getting goats, there are some things you need to know first.

Is It Better to Get a Male or Female Goat?

When choosing a goat, there are several factors to consider. One vital question is whether to get a male or female goat. 

Both sexes have their pros and cons. Male goats, or bucks, are generally larger than females and may be better at clearing brush. Male goats may also become more aggressive and are sometimes less likely to behave around children. Female goats, or does, produce delicious milk. And – are generally easier to handle.

However, female goats (does) can be more prone to health problems such as uterine infections.  
Ultimately, the best decision depends on the individual situation and how your homestead could benefit from goats the most.

Are Goats Expensive to Keep?

It is no secret that goats can be expensive animals to keep. They require care and attention, and their dietary needs are not always easy to meet. 

However, there are ways to offset the cost of goat ownership. One way is to purchase goats that are already well-socialized and benefit from a healthy diet. Another way to save money raising goats is to source some of the necessary supplies in bulk. 

Finally, it is vital to remember that goats can be worthwhile and valuable animals! Raising goats means you’ll have plenty of milk, meat, and fiber. When all factors get considered, owning goats can be a markedly rewarding experience. Both financially and emotionally!

How Much Space Do You Need for 2 Goats?

Two goats need a lot of space. They need room to move, explore, and play. A good rule is that each goat needs at least 10 square feet of space. So, if you have two goats, you should have at least 20 square feet of space for them to roam.

However, keep in mind that this is just a minimum. Goats are active creatures! And they will be much happier with more space. If possible, give them a pasture or a large backyard to explore. That way – your goats can explore, forage, and stay happy. And healthy!

How Many Goats Should a Beginner Start With for Small Homesteads?

When it comes to goats, more is not always better. In fact, for a beginner farmer, it’s often best to start with a small herd. 

However, goats are social creatures and do best when they have companions. A small goat herd also lets the farmer get to know the personalities and quirks of each goat!
Additionally, a smaller herd is less likely to overwhelm a beginner farmer in terms of time and effort required for care and management. 

Of course, the ideal number of goats depends on the size of the farm and the available resources. Ultimately, the best number of goats for a beginner is whatever number will allow the farmer to provide the best possible care for the animals.

What Are the Best Goats for Beginners?

Two of our favorite goat breeds for beginners are Nubian and pygmy goats. Other good choices are Nigerian Dwarf goats, LaManchas, Alpines, Saanens, Boers, and Kikos. The perfect goat breed for you depends on several factors, such as hardiness, whether you’re raising your goat as a pet, for meat, or for milk, and whether you’re planning on breeding your herd.

adorable nigerian dwarf goat thick coat
Don’t let this young (and adorable) Nigerian Dwarf goat fool you. These goats are hardier than you think! They’re also famous for producing delicious milk. The fat content of Nigerian Dwarf milk is high – at around 6.1%. We also read from the North American Nigerian Dwarf Association that the origin of these beautiful creatures is somewhat fuzzy! The earliest instance of Nigerian Dwarf goats in America was around 1918. What we know for a fact – is that Nigerian Dwarf goats make excellent goats for beginners. And they’re also fun to have around!

Read More – Raising Sheep Vs. Goats. Which Is More Profitable?


If you’re thinking about getting goats, or if you’ve just brought home your first few kids, there are a few things to consider. The tips we’ve shared in this post should help you get started with keeping your goats healthy and content. 

What about you?

Which goats for beginners are your favorite?

Or – maybe our list is missing your favorite goat?

Let us know!

And – thanks so much for reading.

Have a beautiful day!

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  1. Hi Rebecca
    Thank you for the information. I’m about to move to a quarter of an acre back yard . I’d like to possibly get two mini goats and I’ll be looking all about how to care for them.
    Do you think I could keep them in a yard without them eating all the plants? Or do I need to fence off the plants/veges/ or goats!

    Thank you

  2. “”Some of the best dairy goats for beginners include…..Toggenburg. 

    These breeds are relatively easy to care for and produce a good amount of milk. In addition, they are typically docile and friendly, making them easy to handle. 

    This young Toppenburg goat is a beautiful dairy animal and one of our favorite best dairy goats for beginners.” ”

    Hello. I am a bit confused: In the opening lines, you mention Toggenburg goats, and later, you also mention them, but then in a couple of other places you call them Toppenburgs…so which is it? ToGGenburg or ToPPenburg?
    Thank you for the article!

    1. Hi there Carol!
      Sorry about that!
      They are most certainly Toggenburgs – originating in Obertoggenberg, Switzerland!
      Editing now 😀
      Thank you,

  3. Really??? Females generally produce more milk than males? I think you may want to rethink that line in the article

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