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ABGA Breed Standards Change
Editorial by
Keith Smith

Editor's Note: THIS EDITORIAL WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 15, 2002. ON JANUARY 26, 2002, THE "NEW" BREED STANDARDS DESCRIBED HERE WERE RESCINDED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE ABGA. MEMBERS ARE STILL URGED TO CONTACT THEIR REGIONAL DIRECTOR AND DISCUSS THE OLD AND NEW STANDARDS - THIS ISSUE IS NOT DEAD..

Boergoats.com supports the new breed standards in form only. Many of the changes were for the betterment of the breed while others were merely cosmetic "cleanup".
Some I disagree with but this is politics... any time more than one person defines something each of those persons will have to give something to get something - I'll trade away the color requirement in the show ring for a good mouth any day.

Item - The Board of the ABGA has acted outside of it's authority in adopting these standards without the majority approval of the membership.

Item - You determined which goats to purchase based on their adherence to Breed Standard. The breed standards have changed without your knowledge or consent. Your goats may no longer meet the Breed Standard.
Or... you may have awakened this morning to find that that animal that you were going to cull because of "non-standard" color is now acceptable in the show ring. I hope that you weren't too hasty in disposing of it.

ABGA members are urged to contact their respective Board member to express concern at this action by the Board and to urge them to rescind the changes until approval by the membership has been obtained. The complete list of Directors/Officers including their phone numbers and e-mail addresses is located at http://www.abga.org/directors.html. Click Here - the list will be loaded in a separate window over this page. When you are finished with the Directors' list just close that window to return here.

The two Breed Standards versions, old on the left, new on the right, are presented below for comparison.
The new standard took effect for Ennoblement inspection on January 1, 2002.
The old standard will remain in effect for the show ring until after April 1, 2002.


Existing Breed Standard New Breed Standard
(effective sometime after April 1, 2002)
Standards for the Improved Boer Goat As recognized by the American Boer Goat Association

OVERVIEW: In describing those traits that constitute "standards" for the Improved Boer Goat, we are leaning heavily on the standards which have evolved during the development of this breed over the past 70 years in South Africa. The standards that they have developed have the explicit objectives of improving the breed for economic production.

The South African Boer Goat is 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:

1.Large form size

2.High carcass yield grades

3.Uniform visual appearance

Visual uniformity exists not only in the color patterns that the animal 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 was developed by natural selection practices of the 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 South African Boer Goat Breeders Association was formed. One of the first undertakings was to establish breed standards that have been introduces and assisted in improving the Breed. Information available from the South African Boer Goat Association indicated that five types of Boer goats are recognized in South Africa. These include:

1.THE ORDINARY BOER GOAT - which is an animal with good meat conformation, having short hair and a variety of color patterns, including brindle, gray, dark brown and white. Occasionally animals have brown heads and necks.

2.LONG HAIR BOER - heavy coat, matures later and said to have coarse meat. Long hair reduces value of skins, making this type undesirable.

3.THE POLLED BOER GOAT - is naturally hornless, with conformation that is usually less than desirable.

4.THE INDIGENOUS BOER GOAT - which has long legs, a variable and poor conformation and a variety of color patterns. This line has not been highly selected or managed.

5.THE IMPROVED BOER GOAT - This type has been the primary line which breeders have been 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 pedigrees to register goats. Trained inspectors assess 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 US. These standards describe what an Improved Boer Goat should be, citing the most desirable traits as making up the ideal individual. When evaluating an animals value and desirability, the best balance of all the standards should be sought after. In summary, the animal who possessed 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 who 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 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 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: Cull characteristic or defects which decreases the value of the goat for breeding purposes and will ultimately affect an animals eligibility for Ennobled status.

IMPROVED BOER GOAT STANDARDS

Overall Quality, Size, Appearance and Type

The overall objective is for a goat to be of suitable size with maximum meat yields, good structural conformation which meets environmental and production requirements, high adaptability to environmental conditions high fertility.

Ideally, this is an animal with short glossy hair with fine luster and a loose supple skin. 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.

In general appearance, a Boer goat has a dark head and horns that curve backwards. Animals should be strong, vigorous, and symmetrical, with well-balanced muscling. Bucks should be masculine and well proportioned. Does should be feminine, yet strong. 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 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: Cull characteristic or defects which decreases the value of the goat for breeding purposes.

I. CONFORMATION

A.HEAD

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 the 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, blue eyes.

I. CONFORMATION

A. HEAD

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. There can be no over- or under-bite; the jaws must be perfectly opposed and teeth must be in the 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 round and solid as possible and dark in color. Ears should be broad, smooth 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, horns too straight or too flat, horns too close, jaw too pointed.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Any extreme occurrence of the above undesirable traits. Overshot or undershot jaw, blue eyes, ears folded lengthwise, teeth not in correct anatomical positions.

B.NECK AND FOREQUARTERS

Neck of moderate length and in proportion with body length. Forequarters full, well fleshed, and limbs well jointed and smoothly blended. The breast should 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 and tight and as dark as possible.

FAULTS: Neck too long, too short, or too thin; shoulders too loose, any structural foreleg, muscle, bone, joint or hoof deformities or abnormalities.

B. NECK AND FOREQUARTERS

Neck of moderate length and in proportion with body length. Forequarters full, well fleshed, and limbs well jointed and smoothly blended. The breast should be broad. 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 and in proportion with the depth of the body. Pastern joints should be strong and hooves well-formed and as dark as possible.

FAULTS: Neck too short or too thin; shoulders too loose, any structural foreleg, muscle, bone, joint or hoof deformities or abnormalities to include but not limited to knock knees, bandy legs, hooves pointing outward or inward, splay toes, buck knees, hollow legs, straight or weak pasterns.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Any extreme occurrence of the above undesirable traits.

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.

C. BODY

Body should be boldly three-dimensional: long, deep and wide. Ribs must be well sprung. Loins should be well muscled, wide and long. The top line should be straight and strong and the shoulder well rounded with an abundance of muscle from shoulder through hip.

FAULTS: Concave or swayback; chest too narrow or shallow or flat; shoulders weakly attached; inadequate muscle through the back and loin, pinched heartgirth.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Any extreme occurrence of the above undesirable traits.

D.HINDQUARTERS

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.

D. HINDQUARTERS

Rump broad and long with a gentle slope. Britch and thighs well muscled and rounded. Base of the tail must be centered and straight. The remainder of the tail can curve upward or 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: Weak pasterns, straight pasterns, rump too steep, sickle hocked, cow hocked, post legs.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Any extreme occurrence of the above undesirable traits.

II. SKIN AND COVERING

Skin loose and supple, with sufficient folds over the neck and chest, especially in bucks. Eyelids and other hairless areas must be pigmented. Hairless areas around anus should be at least 75% pigmented; 100% is ideal. Short glossy hair is desirable. 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.

II. SKIN AND COVERING

Skin loose and supple. Eyelids and other hairless areas must be pigmented. Hairless areas around anus should be at least 75% pigmented; 100% is ideal. Short glossy hair is desirable. 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.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Not enough pigment. Any extreme occurrence of the above undesirable traits.

III. REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS

The 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 separatedts and openings with at least 50% of the body of a teat separated is permissible. The bucks should have two large 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 usage. 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 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 " but preferably 12 " or larger.

FAULTS: Udder and teat abnormalities or defects, other than those specified above; small or abnormal testes, scrotal splits larger than 2".

III. REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS

DOES

Does should have well formed udders with good attachment and no more than two functional teats per side. It is most important that the udder is constructed so that offspring are able to nurse unassisted.

FAULTS: Udder and teat abnormalities or defects to include but not limited to split teats, cluster teats, fishtail teats, oversized or bulbous teats, pendulous udder.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Split teats, cluster teats, fishtail teats. Any extreme occurrence of the above undesirable traits.

BUCKS

Bucks should have two large well-formed, functional, equal sized testes in a single scrotum with no more than a 2" split in the apex of the scrotum.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Single testicle. Testicles too small. Abnormal or diseased testes; excessive split.

IV. COLORATION

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 of the head is most desirable 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 are acceptable. Ideally, the ears should be 90% colored and pigmented.

FAULTS: Skin too lightly pigmented (less than 50% coloration of the head and neck are combined).

IV. COLORATION

The traditional Boer Goat is an animal with red hair on the head and ears and white on the remainder of the body but other colorations are not to be discriminated against in the show ring. Each side of head (excluding ears) should have a patch of color surrounding eyes of a minimum 4" diameter. Each ear should have a minimum of 75% coloration.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: Not enough pigmentation. Not enough color on head or ears.

 

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