Saanen Goats

August 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Goat Breeds

American Dairy Goat Breed Description

The Saanen dairy goat originated in Switzerland. It is medium to large in size with rugged bone and plenty of vigor. Does should be feminine, however and not coarse. Saanens are white or light cream in color, with white preferred. Spots on the skin are not discriminated against. Small spots of color on the hair are allowable, but not desirable. The hair should be short and fine, although a fringe over the spine and thighs is often present. Ears should be erect and alertly carried, preferably pointing forward. The face should be straight or dished. A tendency toward a Roman nose is discriminated against.

The Sable dairy goat is medium to large in size with rugged bone and plenty of vigor. Does should be feminine, however, and not coarse. Mature does must be at least 30 inches (76 cm) in height and weigh at last 135 pounds (61.36 kg). Mature bucks must be at least 32 inches (81 cm) in height and weigh at least 170 pounds (77.27 kg). Their hair is short; ears should be erect and alertly carried, preferably pointing forward. The face should be straight or dished.

The Sable dairy goat, either purebred or American, must be the offspring of purebred or American Saanens, Sables, or Experimental (when of wholly purebred or American Saanen bloodlines). The Sable must also meet the color requirements; a Sable may be any color or combinations of colors, solid or patterned, EXCEPT solid white or light cream. This would include goats who are basically white but have dark spots, ticking, etc., which preclude them from entry into the Saanen herd books.

This breed is presently not recognized by the American Dairy Goat Association, but the standard is published as a guide for breeders who are working with colored Saanens.

Breed Description

The Saanen may appear almost as rangy as the Alpine, but she will be larger and heavier, containing more “substance.” The length of the head resembles the Alpine, but the ears may be longer and the eyes more mellow. The muzzle will be wider and deeper, and the bridge of the nose will be nearly straight, with less “dish” than other breeds. The Saanen must be pure white with no markings, although shades of cream may be acceptable. The hair often grows quite long, and it may tend to be heavier and perhaps coarser. The pure white color refers to hair color only. Spots of black pigment on the skin, like freckles, are normal.

The Sable is a colored offspring of registered, purebred Saanens, so the conformation is about the same as for the Saanen. The color can be any color other than cream or white.

ORIGIN: Switzerland

Saanen Does
Conformation and General Appearance: Large, tall, rangy, graceful.
Height: 30″ or more at withers
Weight: 135 pounds or more.
Head: Wide, long, angular; nose dished or straight; muzzle deep; jaw strong.
Eyes: Bright, intelligent, innocent large, full alert.
Ears: Large, alert, wide possible rounding at tip.
Neck: Long, graceful, smoothly blending and tapering; no dewlap.
Body: Very deep and wide, very long, ribs open, well-sprung and pointing to the rear; angular, strong topline; sharp withers; long, wide loin and rump with very little slope to rump; smooth, blending shoulders.
Legs & Feet: Long, squarely set, strong, straight, wide apart legs. Shapely, short, square feet with strong pasterns.
Coat: Skin loose, thin and pliable, hair short.
Colors: White preferred; cream acceptable. Freckles on skin acceptable. Black spots in hair not acceptable.
Udder: Capacious, soft, pliable, globular, well-attached, even, with vertically set conical teats, well-delineated.
Saanen Bucks
Conformation and General Appearance: Large, tall, rangy, masculine but graceful.
Height: 32″ or more at withers
Weight: 185 pounds or more
Head: Long, wide, neat, dished or straight nose, deep muzzle, strong jaw, full beard.
Ears: Large, alert, wide
Eyes: Bright, intelligent, innocent, large, full, alert.
Neck: Long, powerful, masculine, graceful, tapering, smoothly blending.
Body: Very deep, wide and angular; very long with open, well-sprung ribs pointing to the rear; strong back; short withers; long, wide loin and rump with little slope to rump; shoulders smoothly blended.
Coat: Loose, pliable skin; short hair.
Colors: White.
Reproductive Organs: Well-developed, well attached, two even, rudimentary teats.

National Breed Club

National Saanen Breeders Association

Justine Gilchrist, Sec-Treas.
8555 Sypes Canyon Road
Bozeman, MT 59715
Dues: $15


When you belong to NSBA, you receive our award winning newsletter Saanen News Quarterly, can have your special Saanens featured on the club breed page of United Caprine News, can participate in the club’s All-American & Production Awards programs, receive inside information on Saanens throughout the country, & have the opportunity to join in active promotion of the Saanen breed. We also hold Saanen Specialty shows across the nation.


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One Response to “Saanen Goats”

  1. Laura Middleton on January 3rd, 2013 6:03 am

    Justine Gilchrist hasn’t been the NSBA Sec-Treasurer for quite some time. I’m not sure who to tell so it can be updated to:

    Lisa Shepard
    PO Box 916
    Santa Cruz, NM 87567
    505-689-1371 –

    The NSBA members just had an election and Lisa was voted to be kept in that position.