Goat vs Sheep Characteristics

Some people want to raise both goat and sheep together. Both of this two smaller livestock animals are mainly raised for their wool, hair or pelts, milk and meat production.

Among the animals which humans have domesticated, sheep and goats were the first. And still now, both of this two small species are among the most popular livestock animals. There are some physical differences between this two species.

Goat vs Sheep Characteristics

If you look closely at goats and sheep, you will be able to easily distinguish this two animal. There are some behavioral differences too, that set this two animals apart from each other. Read more about goat vs sheep characteristics.


Most of the goat breeds have horns, but not all the sheep breeds have horns. Sheep have a thicker and fuller coat. Their coat is the source of wool and it needs to be sheared on a regular basis.

Some goat breeds also produce mohair and cashmere. This type of goats also need to be sheared after a certain period of time.

goat vs sheep, goat vs sheep characteristics, characteristics differences between goats and sheep

There are some differences between the mouths of sheep and goats. Sheep have an upper lip with a division in. It is called a philtrum.

But goat’s mouth is different. Sheep have tails that hang down (their tails are often shortened, cropped or docked). But goats have tails that point upwards.


Goats are more intelligent, independent and smart than sheep. They can adopt themselves with the environment easily than sheep.

Sheep tend to run if spooked or approached and they are most comfortable with their flock.

They like to graze on grass. On the other hand, goats like to graze on almost everything they can reach and find edible (leaves, plants, twigs etc.).


Goats and sheep are completely different species. Goats have 60 chromosomes, but sheep have 54 chromosomes. For producing fertile offspring, they can’t interbreed.

Although, scientists can produce genetic combinations (chimeras) of goat and sheep in laboratories.


Usually an adult female goat is called doe or nanny, an adult male goat is called a billy or buck, female goats under 1 year of age are called doeling, goats who have passed their first year of age are called yearling and young goats are called kids.

On the other hand, an adult female sheep is called a ewe, an adult male sheep is called a ram and young sheep are called lambs.

These are the common difference between goats and sheep. There are many goat breeds available for different production purposes. Sheep also have many breeds. Read raising goats and sheep together.

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