Saanen goats are one of the largest and calmest of the dairy breeds. They tend to do well as family companions and in showmanship classes due to their mild temperament. Many breeders have been known to refer to them as “living marshmallows.”
Physical Features and Characteristics:
The Saanen goat’s coat is short and fine, although a fringe over the spine and thighs is not unusual. Hair is white to creamy white in color. Saanen goats can have erect ears and straight or dished faces. A mature female stands at least 30 inches at the withers (top of the shoulder blades) and weighs 135 pounds or more. Males stand approximately 32 inches tall and weigh 160 pounds or more.
Lifestyle and Reproduction:
These goats live about 10 years, with sexual maturity reached at 3 to 12 months of age. Breeding season is in the fall, and the cycle of a doe lasts 17 to 23 days. Estrus lasts 12 to 48 hours. Gestation lasts 148 to 156 days and results in twins or even triplets.
Bucks smell to tell if a doe is in estrus by the behavior known as “flehmen.” In this behavior, they extend their necks and heads into the air and curl up their upper lips.