Nigerian Dwarf Goat: Everything You Need To Know

baby nigerian dwarf goat next to a fence

An Introduction to the Nigerian Dwarf Goat: Origin, Appearance, and Size


Nigerian Dwarf goats, also known as pygmy goats, are an increasingly popular breed of small dairy goats originating from West Africa. Although they were primarily used for meat and milk production in their native country, Nigerian Dwarf goats are now widely appreciated for their friendly nature, easy maintenance, and high-quality milk production.

Origin and History Nigerian Dwarf goats were imported to the United States in the 1930s, primarily for use in zoos and as exhibition animals. They were later crossed with other breeds, including the Nubian and Alpine goats, to improve their milk production and size. Today, Nigerian Dwarf goats are recognized as a distinct breed by the American Dairy Goat Association and the American Goat Society, and they are valued for their adaptability to a wide range of climates and environments.

Appearance and Size

Nigerian Dwarf goats are a small breed, typically weighing between 50 and 75 pounds and standing less than two feet tall at the shoulder. They have short, glossy coats that come in a variety of colors and patterns, including black, white, brown, and gold. Their ears are erect and can be either straight or curved, and their eyes are large and expressive.

One of the distinctive features of Nigerian Dwarf goats is their small size relative to other dairy goat breeds. This makes them easy to handle and maintain, even for those with limited space or resources. They are also well-suited to backyard or hobby farming, as they do not require as much food or shelter as larger goats.

nigerian dward goat close up

Getting Started with Nigerian Dwarf Goat Care: Housing, Feeding, and Health Considerations

If you’re interested in keeping Nigerian Dwarf goats, it’s important to have a solid understanding of their basic care needs. These small but hardy goats have unique housing, feeding, and health requirements that must be met in order to keep them healthy and happy.


The housing needs of Nigerian Dwarf goats are relatively simple. They require a secure and dry shelter to protect them from the elements, as well as a clean and well-ventilated living space. A basic goat shelter can be constructed using plywood or other weather-resistant materials, with a sloping roof to allow rain and snow to run off. The shelter should be large enough to accommodate all of your goats comfortably, with enough space for them to move around freely.

In addition to a shelter, Nigerian Dwarf goats require a fenced area to prevent them from wandering off and to protect them from predators. A sturdy fence that is at least 4 feet high is recommended, with no gaps or holes that could allow goats to escape. The fenced area should also provide access to fresh water and shade, as well as plenty of space for exercise and grazing.


Nigerian Dwarf goats have relatively low feed requirements compared to larger goat breeds, but it’s important to ensure that they receive a balanced and nutritious diet. A diet that is high in roughage, such as hay or grass, is essential for maintaining good health and digestion. Goats also require access to clean water at all times, as well as a source of minerals and vitamins to supplement their diet.

In addition to hay and grass, Nigerian Dwarf goats can be fed a variety of other foods, including grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, it’s important to avoid overfeeding or providing too many treats, as this can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Health Considerations

Nigerian Dwarf goats are generally hardy and healthy, but they are still susceptible to a variety of health issues that can impact their well-being. One of the most important aspects of Nigerian Dwarf goat care is disease prevention, which involves regular vaccinations, parasite control, and monitoring for signs of illness or injury.

Parasites, such as worms and lice, are common in Nigerian Dwarf goats and can cause a variety of health problems if left untreated. It’s important to establish a regular deworming schedule, as well as to monitor your goats for signs of parasite infestations, such as weight loss, lethargy, and diarrhea.

In addition to parasites, Nigerian Dwarf goats can also be prone to other health issues, such as respiratory infections, foot rot, and urinary calculi. It’s important to work with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about goat health and to establish a regular healthcare routine, including regular check-ups and vaccinations.

Milking and breeding Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Milking and breeding Nigerian Dwarf goats can be a profitable and enjoyable experience for those interested in goat husbandry. These small goats are known for their high milk production and ease of breeding, making them a popular choice for small-scale dairy operations.

Milking Nigerian Dwarf goats is a relatively straightforward process, and many people find it to be an enjoyable and relaxing activity. Nigerian Dwarf goats typically produce between 1 and 2 quarts of milk per day, with some goats producing as much as 3 quarts per day. To milk a Nigerian Dwarf goat, it’s important to establish a regular milking routine and to keep the goat’s udder and milking equipment clean and sanitized. Many goat owners find it helpful to use a milking machine to make the process faster and more efficient.

Breeding Nigerian Dwarf goats is also a popular activity, and these goats are known for their ease of breeding and high fertility rates. Nigerian Dwarf goats can be bred as early as 7 months of age, with most goats reaching sexual maturity by the age of 8 to 10 months. Breeding Nigerian Dwarf goats requires careful attention to the breeding season, which typically runs from August to January. It’s important to ensure that both the male and female goats are healthy and free from disease, and to provide adequate nutrition and care during the breeding process.

One of the benefits of breeding Nigerian Dwarf goats is the high demand for their offspring. Many people are interested in purchasing Nigerian Dwarf kids as pets or for their milk production potential. Nigerian Dwarf goats are known for their friendly and playful personalities, making them popular with families and hobbyists.

When breeding Nigerian Dwarf goats, it’s important to consider the genetic traits of the parents and to select breeding pairs that will produce healthy and desirable offspring. Some breeders focus on producing goats with specific coat colors or patterns, while others prioritize milk production or other traits. It’s important to work with a veterinarian or experienced goat breeder to ensure that your breeding program is successful and sustainable.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats as Pets: Training, Bonding, and Care Tips for Happy and Healthy Goats

Are Nigerian dwarf goats good pets? Yes, they can make great pets. They are known for their friendly and affectionate personalities, which make them popular with families and hobbyists. Nigerian Dwarf goats are small in size, which makes them easy to handle and care for, and they require relatively little space compared to larger goat breeds.

If you’re considering getting a Nigerian Dwarf goat as a pet, it’s important to learn about their care, training, and bonding requirements to ensure that your goat is happy and healthy.

Training Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Nigerian Dwarf goats are intelligent and can be trained to perform various tasks or follow commands. Training can include basic obedience commands like “come,” “stay,” and “heel,” as well as more advanced tasks like jumping or pulling a cart. To train a Nigerian Dwarf goat, it’s important to use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats or praise, to reward good behavior.

Start training your goat at a young age, ideally between 2-4 months old, when they are more receptive to learning. Keep training sessions short and frequent, with a focus on repetition and consistency. It’s also important to be patient and not get frustrated if your goat does not immediately understand a command.

Bonding with Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Nigerian Dwarf goats are social animals and enjoy spending time with their owners and other goats. It’s important to establish a bond with your goat through regular interaction and positive reinforcement. Spend time with your goat every day, playing, petting, and grooming them. Goats also enjoy being scratched on their chin, behind their ears, and at the base of their horns.

If you have multiple goats, it’s important to ensure that they get along and do not become aggressive towards each other. Provide enough space, shelter, and food for each goat, and monitor their interactions to prevent any bullying or fighting.

Care Tips for Nigerian Dwarf Goats

Proper care is essential for the health and well-being of Nigerian Dwarf goats. Some important care tips include:

  1. Nutrition: Nigerian Dwarf goats require a balanced diet of hay, pasture, and a small amount of grain or commercial goat feed. Ensure that your goat has access to clean water and a mineral block to supplement their diet.
  2. Shelter: Nigerian Dwarf goats require shelter from extreme weather conditions, such as heat, cold, or rain. Provide a dry, ventilated shelter with enough space for your goat to move around comfortably.
  3. Health Care: Nigerian Dwarf goats require regular veterinary care, including vaccinations, deworming, and hoof trimming. Monitor your goat’s health for any signs of illness, such as changes in appetite or behavior.
  4. Exercise: Nigerian Dwarf goats require exercise to maintain their health and well-being. Provide enough space for your goat to move around, climb, and play.
  5. Grooming: Nigerian Dwarf goats require regular grooming, including brushing, hoof trimming, and cleaning their ears and eyes. This can help prevent health issues and keep your goat looking and feeling their best.


In conclusion, Nigerian Dwarf goats are a unique and fascinating breed of goat that make great pets for those interested in keeping livestock. Their small size, high milk production potential, and friendly personalities make them popular with families and hobbyists. However, it’s important to note that Nigerian Dwarf goats still require proper care, attention, and training to ensure their health and well-being.

Whether you’re interested in keeping Nigerian Dwarf goats for milk production or simply as pets, it’s important to learn about their origin, appearance, size, care, training, and bonding requirements. With the right knowledge and preparation, Nigerian Dwarf goats can provide years of joy, companionship, and even delicious milk and cheese.

Overall, Nigerian Dwarf goats are a valuable addition to any homestead or family farm, offering a fun and rewarding way to connect with nature and experience the joys of animal husbandry.