are dairy goats that originated in Switzerland, in the Saanen Valley. By the late 19th century they had
spread across Europe, and in the early 20th century were brought to the US. Now
they are among the most popular dairy goat breeds, due to their high
productivity and ease of management.
are heavy milk producers and usually yield 3-4 percent milk fat. They are medium to large in size (weighing
approximately 145 lbs/65kg) with rugged bone and plenty of vigor.
white or light cream colored; however white is preferred and spots on their skin
is not discriminated against and small spots of color on their hair is
allowable, but not desirable. Saanen hair should be short and fine, although a
fringe over the spine and thighs is often present. Their ears should be erect
and alertly carried, preferably pointing forward. Their face should be straight
or dished, and a tendency toward a roman nose is discriminated against.
are sensitive to excessive sunlight and performs best in cooler conditions,
therefor shade is essential and tan skin is preferable.
Saanens are the largest of the goat dairy breeds, and one of
the largest milk producers. Does typically weigh at least 135 pounds (61 kg)
and stand 30 inches (76 cm) tall, with bucks weighing at least 160 pounds (73
kg) and standing 32 inches (81 cm). The profile of the head is straight or
dished (concave), with erect, forward-pointing mid-sized to large ears. Saanen
does are known for their ease of management in herds, mellow temperaments and
adaptability, as well as their production abilities. Their milk generally has a
butterfat content of 3-4%.
Organizations for the preservation and advancement of the
Saanen breed in the US include the National Saanen Breeders Association and the
American Goat Society. The American Goat Society, founded in 1935, registers
nine breeds of goat, including the Saanen.
Saanen goats have been used in hunger relief
programs by Heifer International as gifts because of their ease of care and