A rare and isolated goat breed of Nordic origin, the Icelandic Goat is dates back to the Settlement of Iceland more than 1,100 years ago. Many believe that the goats came with the settlers from Norway at 874 A.D. Morever, it is believed that the goats were never imported ever since it came. However, there were historical records from 1703 onwards that there were several places in Iceland where it is being kept since.
Despite this, their numbers decreased greatly. The earliest record in 1703 numbered at 818. The highest was in 1930 where the goats numbered at 2,983. In 1960, it recorded less than 100 heads. There were efforts to conserve the goats. The Farmers' Association of Iceland made efforts to make the Icelandic Goats more important commercially by marketing its goat meat and skins. The Icelandic Goat also produces an excellent undercoat of cashmere.
In conserving the Icelandic goat, farmers need to take part in the local production of its goat milk products, like cheese. The Icelandic goat has a unique type of milk and meat. In 1991, there were experimental production of goat cheese from Icelandic goat and it yielded promising results. There can be a market for goat milk products in Iceland.
The Iceland goats are a small breed where the females weigh around 35 - 50 kg and the males around 60 - 75 kg. Both males and females are commonly horned. Like many other Icelandic breeds of Nordic origin, the Icelandic goats also come with a range of colors. Around 20% of the goats are white and around 80% have mainly piebald, badgerface and grey patterns.