Nigerian Dwarf Goat


Scientific Name

Capra hircus

Species Survival Plan



Agile climbers that prefer rocky areas


Wolf and big cats


Herbivorous, eating hay when given and browsing on trees and bushes

Originally Native To



17 - 21 inches


50 - 75 lb.


Can be black, brown, gold and cream with many different color patterns; a small goat with upright ears and short hair

Gestation Period

145 - 155 days


3 - 4 kids

Birth Season

Any month


Wild Not Applicable
Captivity 12 - 20 years

Social Behavior

Highly social, live in herds and prefer to stay in family groups


About Nigerian Dwarf Goat

The Nigerian dwarf goat is a miniature dairy goat that comes in wide variety of colors and markings. Both males and females of this species have horns, though it is common for owners to have them disbudded (removed) at a young age.

Nigerian dwarfs produce very sweet milk that is high in butterfat and protein. A healthy female will produce up to two quarts of milk per day, which is quite a bit for its small size.

Goat's milk is more easily digestible than cow’s milk. Worldwide, more people consume milk and milk products from goats than from any other animal. Excess goat milk can be used to raise calves or pigs, since a goat's milk can be used for almost any orphaned animal.

Another benefit of Nigerian dwarf goats is their manure can be used as natural compost for gardens. Goat manure is virtually odorless and very beneficial for soil.

The popularity of the Nigerian dwarf goat is on the rise. They originated in West Africa and were brought to the United States on ships as food for large cats such as lions and tigers.

The surviving goats that weren’t fed to the carnivores went on to live at zoos in their own exhibits. Now, they are commonly kept as residents in petting zoos.

Due to their small size, they don’t require as much feed or space as larger breeds, making them a good choice as a pet. They also have very friendly and gentle personalities and are easily trained.

Nigerian dwarfs are a few inches taller than pygmy goats and equally as playful. Dwarf goats share many similarities with pygmy goats, but one key difference is that dwarf goats are categorized as milking goats.

Goats are diurnal (active during the day), spending most of their time eating shrubs, trees, herbs, and scrub. Nigerian dwarfs can be kept successfully in all climates. They have a strong herd instinct and prefer the company of at least one other goat.

At Fossil Rim, Nigerian dwarf goats live at the Children's Animal Center.


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As a private nonprofit corporation, Fossil Rim does not receive national or state government support. Every cent spent or donated here goes in some way, directly or indirectly, toward the care of our animals.