Goat Cheese on a plate

10 Best Dairy Goat Breeds for Cheese | All You Need to Know

By Dairy Farming Hut

Goats

Lately, it seems that more and more people are taking their foods back to basics. On social media, you are sure to see a friend posing with a lush vegetable garden or another smiling by a fresh-caught fish; cheese should be no exception. If you are considering a new hobby or just a fresh diet, goat cheese is what you need!

Goats are a wide and varied sort. That’s why I put this list together to get your goat-cheese goals jump-started! Something to note before you read on: the key to great goat cheese comes from high butterfat content in Goat's milk. With that in mind, let’s look at the ten best breeds for making cheese.

Butterfat Content in Milk of Various Goat Breeds

Here are some goat breeds whose milk is preferred for making delicious cheese. The table will help you determine the average butterfat content in the milk of various breeds of goat.

Goat Breed

Avg. Butterfat Content

Saanen

3%

Boer

3%

Alpine

3.5%

Nubian

5%

Toggenburg

3.7%

LaMancha

4.2%

Nigerian Dwarf

8%

Oberhasli

4%

Anglo-Nubian

5%

Golden Guernsey

7&

Let's continue to read about these breeds of goats that are known for producing amazing cheese.

1. Saanen

Saanen is the Breed of Swiss goats that are perhaps the mightiest milkers on this list. Producing 2-3 gallons a day, these mild-tempered goats will keep you busy. Their milk is on the lower end of the spectrum in regard to butterfat content, but they are definitely a good breed for cheese making.

Saanen Goat

Saanen Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    165 lbs. for bucks and 135 lbs. for does
  • Average Daily Milk Production: 
    3 Gallons
  • Average Butterfat Content: 3% 

These goats are on the larger size but behave quite well with patient, calm tempers. You would not struggle to keep them in a more urban setting as long as they had adequate room to run and play. They are happiest when they have company, so I recommend purchasing another to ensure the stress levels are low.

2. Boer

Boer goats come from South Africa originally, but you are much more likely to find them down under, grazing the fields of Australia. This breed is the biggest on the list, which seems appropriate when considering that they were bred to produce meat. Do not let that deter you, though; their butterfat content is just what you need!

Boer Goats

Boer Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    270 lbs. for bucks and 210 lbs. for does
  • Average Daily Milk Production: 
    1 Gallon
  • Average Butterfat Content: 3% 

Although they are the largest breed on the list, and in the world, Boer goats have mild tempers and are easygoing. Their sheer size, however, could pose a higher cost when it comes to feeding consumption. Usually, Boer goats are mixed in with an existing dairy tribe to beef up butterfat content and average size in the population.

3. Alpine

Alpine breed originated in the rocky elevations of the French Alps. Alpines are beloved for their mellow dispositions and high levels of milk production throughout the seasons. Alpines tend to be no bigger than most medium-sized dogs, making them a viable option for a backyard dairy.

brown alpine goat with horns

Alpine Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    170 lbs. for bucks and 130 lbs. for does.
  • Average Daily Milk Production: 
    2 Gallons
  • Average Butterfat Content: 3.5% 

This breed is considered one of the best producers when it comes to high-quality milk. Their milk is sweet and, with a controlled graze, you can achieve many different edges to develop further the texture and flavor profile of your goat cheese. Like most Swiss goats, this breed is amiable and easy to work with.

4. Nubian

This African breed, Nubian, is the best in terms of butterfat amongst the large breeds of goats. Nubian goats are renowned for their rich, sweet milk and handsome, floppy ears. Do not let that fool you, though; these goats can be more than a handful. Some folks can not look past their drawbacks, but you should be the judge.

nubian goat

Nubian Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    175 lbs. for bucks and 135 lbs. for does
  • Average Daily Milk Production: 
    1 Gallon
  • Average Butterfat Content: 5% 

They might be the loudest breed there is. To get your attention, they will wail as if they are in danger no matter how minor their grievance is. Stubbornness and destructive behavior are very common in Nubian goats. I would not recommend them to a beginner or someone with fussy neighbors.

5. Toggenburg

Toggenburg is the Swiss breed and it is the oldest when it comes to dairy breeds. This breed is named for its home region in Switzerland. These goats are very popular among goat farmers for their good tempers, consistent milk production, and above-average butterfat content.

White and grey Toggenburg goat on a grass

Toggenburg Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    145 lbs. for bucks and 120 lbs. for does
  • Average Daily Milk Production: 
    1.5 Gallons
  • Average Butterfat Content: 3.7% 

These playful goats have a beautiful coat of mixed greys and cream. Their gentle natures make them ideal for any level of involvement. All that they need is room to play and the occasional pat every now and again. Expect them to be clingy once they warm up to you. 

6. LaMancha

This breed can trace its lineage back to Spain and Africa. This is the only breed of goat that has been developed in the United States. When Oregonian goat milker Eula Fay Frey crossed a Spanish Short-Eared goat with a Nubian, she created one of the best breeds for cheese.

Lamancha Goat

LaMancha Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    130 lbs. for bucks and 125 lbs. for does
  • Average Daily Milk Production: 
    1 Gallon
  • Average Butterfat Content: 4.2% 

The LaMancha goat produces the second richest milk in terms of butterfat content. These goats are easy to work with and do not grow too large or heavy. This breeds origins around the Mediterranean and Africa make it a good hot-climate goat. They do not tend to be affected by the dog days of summer like some other breeds.

7. Nigerian Dwarf

You guessed it. This goat breed originated in the African country of Nigeria, and yes, they are quite small. These little goats are excellent for the backyard due to their small stature. People raise these goats because the overhead associated with the breed is lower than non-pygmy varieties.

small brown nigerian dwarf goat

Nigerian Dwarf Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    80 lbs. for bucks and 65 lbs. for does
  • Average Daily Milk Production:
    0.5 Gallon
  • Average Butterfat Content: 8% 

Despite their size, these little goats can get it done to produce the highest quality milk consistently. Their milk is sweet and rich because of the incredibly high levels of butterfat content. Pound for pound; these are the goats to get if you have limited space and limited time to process gallons of milk.

8. Oberhasli

For the third time on this list, the breed listed above hails from Switzerland. This breed is a little larger than your average goat but not too much. They have an easy-going demeanor and have even been used as pack animals in certain areas.

Brown Oberhasli goat with horns

Oberhasli Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    150 lbs. for bucks and 120 lbs. for does
  • Average Daily Milk Production:
    0.5 Gallon
  • Average Butterfat Content: 4% 

They tend to produce a little less than average milk, but their milk is of a rich quality that is perfect for cheese making. Breeds that produce a little less, like this one, are more manageable for beginners who are a little less experienced handling large quantities of milk.

9. Anglo-Nubian

This breed was developed in England by crossing domestic and African goats. These are excellent multi-purpose goats. They are raised for their meat, hides, and rich milk. Their high butterfat content makes them great for making goat cheese.

Brown Anglo Nubian Goat in green pasture

Anglo-Nubian Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    175 lbs. for bucks and 135 lbs. for does
  • Average Daily Milk Production:
    1 Gallon
  • Average Butterfat Content: 5% 

Their temperament has been described as docile. On top of being high-caliber dairy goats, they have made excellent pets for some families as well.

10. Golden Guernsey

This breed hails from the isles of the English Channel. They may need more time to become comfortable with you before they become easy to work with. They produce a little less than average but, yet again their milk is of high quality.

Golden Guernsey goat

Golden Guernsey Breed Feature

  • Average Adult Weight:
    150 lbs for bucks and 120 lbs for does
  • Average Daily Milk Production:
    1 Gallon
  • Average Butterfat Content: 7% 

Their most prominent feature is their fleece. It will remind you of a golden retriever with its copper tones and wavy texture. Their feral roots make them very capable foragers and greatly reduce their need for feed-in certain respects.

Conclusion

Choosing the right goat breed to produce cheese is vital if you target cheese as your main product for your home consumption or to sell it in the market. Every goat breed has its unique characteristics and feature. Also, some breeds are more suitable for a specific environment, and their milk production can be affected by the change. Butterfat content in goat’s milk is a crucial factor in determining the type of cheese a goat will produce. Most importantly, treat your goats with love and feed them properly. You will get the best results undoubtedly.


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