In describing those traits which constitute "standards" for the Improved Boer Goat, the ABGA is leaning heavily on the standards which have evolved during the development of this breed over the past 70 years in South Africa. The standards which they have developed have the explicit objectives of improving the breed for economic production. The South African Boer Goat is a recognized breed in its country of origin, and many experts throughout the world consider this to be the premier goat meat producing breed. Three selection criteria have contributed to this recognition:
- Large form size
- High carcass yield grades
- Uniform visual appearance
Visual uniformity exists not only in the color patterns which the animals carry, but also in the uniform stature and yield grades. The lack of one or more of these traits in other breeds that have been used for meat production has held back the development of the meat goat industry in the US and abroad.
The South African Boer Goat developed by natural selection practices of breeders in Africa under the often stressful conditions of the African environment. These breeders demanded that only the best, commercially viable animals be recognized as superior. On July 4, 1959, the Boer Goat Breeders' Association of South Africa was formed. One of the first undertakings was to establish breed standards. These standards have changed little over the years, and the changes which have been introduced have assisted in improving the breed.
Information available from the Boer Goat Breeder's Association of South Africa lndicates that five types of Boer goats are recognized in South Africa. These include:
- The ORDINARY BOER GOAT which is an animal with good meat conformation, having short hair and patterns, including brindle, gray, dark brown and white. Occasionally animals have brown heads and necks.
- The LONG HAIR BOER GOAT which has a heavy coat, matures later and is said to have coarse meat. Long hair reduces value of skins, and makes this type undesirable.
- The POLLED BOER GOAT is naturally hornless, with conformation which is usually less than desirable.
- The INDIGENOUS BOER GOAT has long legs, a variable and poor conformation, and a variety of color patterns. This line has not been highly selected or managed.
- The IMPROVED BOER GOAT has been the primary line which breeders have selected for. The specific desired traits which have been stressed, and form the basis of the breed standards include: good conformation, rapid growth rates, high fertility and fecundity, color and type uniformity, and hardiness and adaptability to varied environmental conditions.
The Improved Boer Goat is the only line or type which the South African Boer Goat Association will register as a breeding quality animal.
The South African Boer Goat Association does not maintain or use pedigree to register goats. Trained inspectors access animals by viewing them personally, crediting all characteristics to the whole.
The ABGA provides the following standards as a guide to owners and breeders of Improved Boer Goats in the U.S. These standards describe what an Improved Boer Goat should be, citing the most desirable traits as make up the ideal individual. When evaluating an animal's value and desirability, the best balance of all the standards should be sought after. In summary, the animal that possesses the greatest conformity to the breed standards, when viewed as a complete package, is the best representative of the Boer breed as it was developed to be.
The ABGA registry has been developed to document and maintain bloodlines through pedigree only. Owners and/or breeders should use the standards to evaluate animals when establishing desirability and value. Only animals that meet or exceed these standards will be eligible to advance to performance evaluations and ultimately attain recognition in the Ennobled Book certified by the ABGA beginning September 1, 1994. (criteria for performance evaluation is being developed)
IMPROVED BOER GOAT STANDARDS
Overall Quality, Size, Appearance and Type
The overall objective is for a goat to have suitable size with maximum meat yields, good structural conformation which meets environmental and production requirements, high adaptability to environmental conditions and high fertility.
Ideally, this is an animal with short glossy hair with fine luster. The major portion of the body should be white with dark coloration around the head and pigmented skin in hairless areas around the head and under the tail to reduce sunburn, cancers, and skin diseases. A loose, supple skin helps the animal adapt to wide climatic conditions, and possibly provides resistance to external parasites.
In general appearance, a Boer goat has a dark head and horns which curve backwards. Animals should be strong, vigorous, and symmetrical, with well balanced muscling. Bucks should be masculine and well proportioned, but not overly developed in the head, neck and forequarter making it out of proportion with the rest of the body. Does should be feminine, yet strong, and have a slightly more angular chest than bucks. They should be able to breed easily and have the conformation and constitution to easily raise fast growing kids.
Overall, the ideal is a rapidly growing, well proportioned goat of suitable size with the ability to maximally produce prime cuts of meat to meet consumer demands. A desirable relationship between the length of leg and depth of body should be achieved at all ages, with kids and young goats being slightly longer in the leg.
FAULTS are cull characteristics or defects which decreases the value of the goat for breeding purposes, and will ultimately effect an animal's eligibility for ennobled status.
A prominent, strong head with brown eyes and a gentle appearance. Nose with a gentle curve, wide nostrils, and well formed mouth with well opposed jaws. Two tooth (1-1.5 years of age) can have no over or under-bite; the jaws must be perfectly opposed. Four tooth and older (the second pair of permanent incisors erupt at 1.5 to 2 years of age) animals can have 1/4 inch overbite. All permanent front teeth (goats have four pairs of front teeth in their lower jaw, with the fourth pair erupting at about 4 years of age) must be in their anatomically correct positions. The forehead must be prominent, and form an even curve linking the nose and horns. Horns should be strong, of moderate length, positioned well apart, and have a gradual backward curve before turning outward symmetrically. Horns should be as solid as possible and dark in color. Ears should be broad, smooth, of medium length and hang downwards. Short ears are unacceptable. Disbudded or dehorned animals should have that noted on their registration papers and should not be discriminated against in the show ring.
FAULTS: Concave forehead, straight horns, jaws protruding or too short, jaw too pointed, overshot or undershot jaws, and blue eyes.
B. NECK & FOREQUARTERS:
Neck of moderate length and in proportion with body length. Forequarters full, well fleshed, and limbs well jointed and smoothly blended. The breast would be broad with a deep broad brisket. Shoulders should be fleshy, well proportioned with the rest of the body, and smoothly blended and fitted into the withers. Withers should be broad and well rounded and not sharp. Legs should be strong, well placed, of medium length and in proportion with the depth of the body. Pastern joints should be strong, and hoofs well formed, tight, and as dark as possible.
FAULTS: Neck too long, too short, or too thin; shoulders too loose; and structural foreleg, muscle, bone, joint or hoof deformities or abnormalities.
C. BODY (barrel):
Body should be long, deep, and broad. Ribs must be well sprung and muscled. Loins should be well muscled, wide and long. The top line should be straight and the shoulder well rounded.
FAULTS: Concave or swayback; chest too cylindrical or flat; shoulders weakly attached; poor muscling through the back and loin.
Rump broad and long, with a gentle slope. Britch and thighs well muscled and rounded. Base of the tail must be centered, straight and curved upwards to one side. Legs should be strong and the leg should have a straight axis from the hip through the hock, fetlock, and pastern. Hoofs should be well formed and as dark as possible.
FAULTS: Short or flat rump; insufficient or excessive muscling, shanks (knee to hoof) too long, "cow or sickle" hocked, bowlegged or knock-kneed, weak pasterns; hoofs pointing inward or outward; any structural hind leg muscle, bone, joint or hoof deformities or abnormalities.
II. SKIN & COVERING
Skin should be loose and supple, with sufficient folds over the neck and chest, especially in bucks. Eyelids and other hairless areas must be pigmented. Hairless area around anus should be at least 75% pigmented, 100% is ideal. Short glossy hair is desireable. A limited amount of winter down or under coat will be tolerated during winter, especially in colder environments.
FAULTS: Hair too long or too coarse.
III. REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS
DOES should have well formed udders and good attachment, and no more than two functional teats per side. Ideally, all goats should have a single functional teat on each half of the udder. A split teat with two distinctly separated milk ducts and openings with at least 50% of the body of a teat separated is permissible.
BUCKS should have two well formed, equal sized testes in a single scrotum. The apex of the scrotum with a split no longer than 2" is acceptable. Scrotal circumference increases up to maturity and varies slightly between the breeding and non-breeding season, and with useage. Large scrotal circumferences are inheritable and are directly related to high libido and fertility in other species. One should use approximately 9 3/4 " as a bottom cut off point at 8 months of age and/or 100 pounds. Adult bucks 2 years old or older should measure at least 11 1/2 ", but preferably 12 1/2" or larger.
FAULTS: Udder and teat abnormalities or defects, other than those specified above are considered as faults in DOES. Small or abnormal testes, or scrotal splits larger than 2" are considered as faults in BUCKS.
The ideal Boer Goat is an animal with red hair on the head and ears, and white on the remainder of the body, and has fully pigmented skin. A face blaze must be evident. Hair coloration varying from light to dark red or brown is permissible. Hair coloration on the head is most desireable if it extends down to an imaginary line connecting the point anterior to the shoulder blades and the point of the brisket. Although this is the ideal, 50% non coloration of the head/neck area is acceptable. Ideally, the ears should be 80% colored and pigmented.
FAULTS: Skin too lightly pigmented (less than 50% coloration of the head and neck area combined).
For further information regarding ABGA Breed Standards
or ABGA Membership, please direct your inquiries to:
AMERICAN BOER GOAT ASSOCIATION
232 W. Beauregard, Suite 104
San Angelo, TX 76902 U. S. A.
Phone: (915) 486-2242
Fax: (915) 486-2637