The Irish goat is a very old breed of domestic goat from Ireland. Despite the name, the Irish goat is not native to Ireland. Rather, the breed is thought to have originated from some of the north west European Islands. It is closely related to many native goat breeds of England, Scotland and Wales. When the Irish goat was imported to Scotland and England, it was called ‘The Irish Goat‘. And the breed is included as one of the 4 ‘British Primitive’ goat breeds. Irish goat was Ireland’s only goat breed until the beginning of 20th century.
Domesticated goats have long been raised for milk, skin and meat production in Ireland. And the Irish goat is a multi-purpose breed, but mainly used for meat and milk production. Feral populations of the Irish goats have become established in many parts of the region. Escapes from the farms or deliberate releases from captivity has established these feral populations. And the populations of the Irish goats have persisted in remote and rugged areas to which the breed is ideally adapted. Today the number of Irish goats is not too much. But a society has established named ‘The Old Irish Goat Society’, for preserving and promoting the old Irish goat.
Irish Goat Characteristics
Irish goats are medium sized animal. They are very beautiful and have long hair. They have a thick cashmere undercoat under their long outer coat which helps to keep their body warm in cold weather. The breed has a range of colors, but is usually found in a mixture of black, gray and white color. Both the Irish bucks and does have horns. The does have relatively small horns, while the bucks have larger horns. And it’s possible to tell the age of an Irish goat by counting it’s horn rings. The size and weight of the Irish goats can vary, but the bucks are heavier than the does. On average the bucks weight between 50 and 75 kg. And the average body weight of a doe is between 35 and 60 kg. Photo from Wikipedia.
Irish goats are multi-purpose breed. But the breed is mainly raised for meat and milk production.
Irish goats are very strong and hardy. They can survive on minimal to marginal forages. They are very adaptable animal and can be found in many remote and rugged areas of the Island. They are nimble-footed on crags and precipitous cliffs. The does are good milk produces. And a domesticated doe can produce up to 750 liters of milk per year. As a multi-purpose breed, the Irish goat is suitable for meat, milk, fiber and skin production. Review full breed profile of the Irish goat breed in the chart below.
Irish Goat | Breed Profile
|Breed Purpose||Mainly kept for milk and meat production.|
|Buck||About 50 to 75 kg|
|Doe||About 35 to 60 kg|
|Horns||Yes (larger in bucks than does)|
|Climate Tolerance||All Climates (very cold hardy animal)|
|Coat Color||Usually found in a mixture of black, gray and white color.|
|Good for Stall Fed||Not sure|
|Country/Place of Origin||Ireland|