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· Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
4,806 Posts
There are many different kinds of dairy goats and as many judges who judge by their own likes. So Ill give you a bit of insight into what dairy goat breeders should be aiming for but often dont.

The idea of the perfect dairy goat is for it to be dairy in nature but with the substance of bone and confirmation to hold up over the animals life span. From head to toe this means:
Head, doesnt factor in except for breed standards. such as Nubian roman noes. Lamancha gopher ears...

Necks should be long and delicate. No practical use but makes for a more sightly show animal.

Chest or brisket should protruded out in front of the front legs while shoulders / withers should be smooth and well blended.

Front legs should line up vertically with the center of the shoulders and should not bow in or out or turn in or out in a cow hawked manner. All of this is (confirmation) is so that the front end of the animal holds up over the life time. Think of the front legs as the suspension and the pasterns as the shocks. Good confirmation help extend the life time of the animals pasterns. Of which you want straight with the hooves almost inline with the leg. To long and they tend to break down sooner. To short and they dont do their job well enough.

Topline (spine) you want either flat from withers to pins (rump) or slightly up hill at the withers (shoulders). Again, confirmation is key here. A straight spine is a healthy spine and flows into the rest of the animals confirmation.

Ribs / barrel, you want the ribs flat and wide apart to allow for expanding and contracting of the barrel (belly). The deeper (top to bottom) and wider the barrel, the more that animals can consume and in return produce.

Butt / pins area is strictly a breeding thing. A flatter, wider rump area allows for a straighter birth canal and easier freshenings. A doe with a step rump is more or less making a 90 degree turn in which the kids must pass to be born.

Back legs are just as important as the front legs, though the front legs carry 60% of the weight. The back legs from shoulder to hoof should follow the same guidelines as the front. In showing, when you set up your goat, you want the end of the rump in a straight vertical with the legs from the elbow down and you want to see a good rounded angulation from elbow to hip. This is also a suspension area. A goat with to straight (posty) legs will break down their pasterns much sooner then a goat with the correct angulation.

So as you can see, there are alot of areas that transfer over to pack goats. Size does factor into showing but doesnt factor in on the farm for the most part. With the right blood lines you can get just about as much milk outta a smaller goat as a larger one. So size for the most part, doesnt factor into breeding programs. BUT there are a few of us breeders out there that understand a dairy goat can be to dairy and the substance of bone needed for an doe to produce over 10, 12 or even 15 years is just as important as many of the much needed confirmation standards. Not to mention, a larger doe with an udder that holds 1 1/2 to 2 gallons at its peak will hold up much better under her, then that of a smaller doe.

So like Rex said, although dairy breeders would like to sell their wethers as packers, that doesnt mean they are offering animals with the correct genetics to do so. If you visit a dairy goat farm and dont see the traits in the does, you want to see in your wethers, then you should maybe keep looking. Hope this sheds some light :)
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