Know your goat breeds: The Toggenburg

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Know your goat breeds: The Toggenburg
Photo: Courtesy of Teunie

The pure Toggenburg, or ‘Togg’, is a dairy goat from the Toggenburg Valley in Switzerland. It is the oldest known registered dairy goat breed. A variant, the British Toggenburg, was bred in the UK, and it is likely that other bloodlines were introduced to the pure Togg imported from Switzerland to Britain.

Pure Toggs arrived in South Africa in the early 20th century. They were crossbred with South African-type milch goats originating from the pure Saanen imports of 1900 to 1914, resulting in good milkers.

For years, no Toggs were registered in South Africa and all the old genetic stock disappeared. In 1950s, pure Toggenburgs were imported again and the breed slowly grew from there.

Characteristics
This is a medium size, sturdy breed. The hair is short or medium in length, soft, fine, and lying flat. Bucks are known for a pronounced beard. The colour is solid, varying from light fawn to dark chocolate with no preference for any shade.

Distinct white markings are as follows: white ears with a dark spot in the middle; two white stripes down the face from above each eye to the muzzle; hind legs white from the hocks to the hooves; forelegs white from knees downward with a dark band below knee acceptable; and a white triangle on either side of the tail.

A white spot may be present at the root of the toggles (the small fleshy wattles on the throat seen on many goats) or in that area if no toggles are present. The ears are erect and carried forward. A Toggenburg should have a straight or dished face, but never a Roman nose.

Production norms
The udder should be well developed, not fleshy, and have a soft texture after milking. It should be carried high and
well under the body. The teats must be moderately sized, squarely placed and point slightly forward.

Slightly smaller than the other Alpine breeds, the does weigh at least 55kg. The average height, measured at the withers, is about 79cm for does and 90cm for bucks.Milk production: 2kg/day; milk fat: 3,2% to 3,7%; milk protein: 2,7%.
Source: Snyman, MA: ‘South African goat breeds : Toggenburg goat’, info-pack, Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute.