The Nigerian Dwarf is a small, friendly and adaptable dairy goat. This knee-high milker (averaging roughly 20″ tall at the withers (shoulder) is growing in popularity because it’s uniquely suited to small farms as well as suburban and even city living.
It all began when the descendants of small goats imported from West Africa to North America by zoos and private collectors in the 1930’s and ’40s, were found to be of two different types; stocky and meaty (later developed into the Pygmy goat), or of a more refined “dairy type”. Those of dairy type were further selected for dairy characteristics and milking ability, (arguably influenced by the introduction of genetics from standard sized dairy goats), and finally established as the Nigerian Dwarf breed in the 1980’s.
Today, the Nigerian Dwarf and the Pygmy are two separate and distinct breeds. Although similar in size, the Pygmy is a meat goat and the Nigerian Dwarf is a dairy goat. For many people, however, they are just beloved pets.