Pygora Goat

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Other common names: Miniature Angora Goat; African Pygmy Goat x Angora Goat Cross

The basics:
The Pygora Goat was created in the 1980's by Katharine Jorgensen of Oregon, who wanted to develop a small goat which could produce fine fiber for hand spinning. To do this, Ms. Jorgensen crossed an African Pygmy Goat and an Angora Goat.

The Pygora Breeders Association (PBA) was formed in 1987, and only allows for the registration of Pygoras which descend from American Angora Goat Breeders Association (AAGBA) pure white Angoras. According to the PBA, "This first cross is considered a first generation (F1) cross and is so marked as an F1 on its registration papers. The second generation is considered the true Pygora. The Pygora can be bred to other Pygoras or back to an NPGA or AAGBA animal but the ratio is not to exceed 75% of either parent breed (pygmy or angora)."

A second Pygora registry, the PCA Goat Registry also allows for the registration of Pygoras who have a parent which is a colored Angora Goat which is registered with the Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association (CAGBA).

Appearance / health:
The Pygora Goat is a small to medium-sized goat which is less than 2 ft. tall and less than 100 lbs. in weight. Both sexes are born with horned but owners choose to disbud the animal at a young age to prevent then from getting caught in fences. Body colors and patterns vary, all of which are derived from the Pygmy Goat; white is also common. An adult Pygora can provide 1 quart of milk daily.

According to the Pygora Breeders Association (PBA), Pygoras produce three different types of fleece:

"Type "A": (Angora type)---A long, lustrous fiber up to 6 inches long, hanging in long, curly locks. The hair coat is not obvious on a type "A" animal. This fiber is very fine mohair. Some type "A", "F1" Pygoras are single coated. These animals must be shorn.

Type "B": (Blend type)---A blend of the Pygmy goat undercoat which is cashmere and the Angora mohair. It is between 3 and 6 inches long, and it has a nice crimp (curl). The second coat is usually obscured by the type "B" fleeces that is 3 to 6 inches long. Type "B" can either be lustrous (shiny), or have a matte (dull) finish. This fleece type is the most common, and these goats may be shorn, combed, or plucked.

Type "C ": (Cashmere type)---A very fine fiber, with no luster, and length of 1 to 3 inches. The hair coat looks very coarse in comparison to the two types above. Type "C" can be acceptable commercial cashmere. These goats may be shorn or combed."

Goats are sensitive animals that can suffer from various infectious and chronic diseases that are sometimes undetected until too late. Vaccinations, as well as de-worming and de-lousing applications must be conducted as needed. Milking goats should be checked regularly using prescribed mastitis tests for udder health. Milking areas should always be clean and the goat’s teats treated with teat dip after milking to prevent mastitis.

Goats must be inspected frequently to detect any signs of poor health, infections, or other ailments. Signs include cloudy or teary eyes, dull or fluffed up coat, droopy tail, hunched back, or poor appetite. A veterinarian should always be on call to address health concerns.

Behavior / temperament:
Goats are inherently curious, active, intelligent, and social. They are known to have the ability to overcome enclosures by unraveling the gate, climbing over the mesh, or pushing and ramming the fence down. Goats have good coordination and balance and can manage to climb low trees, ledges, and overhangs. Their curiosity leads them to constantly investigate items with their mouths; most items get chewed and swallowed. With a little patience, goats can be taught to carry or pull loads, respond to calls, and lead a herd. As social animals, they easily get along with other farm animals.

Pygoras are a desirable hybrid of the Angora and Pygmy because they are tame like the Angora, but curious, playful, and energetic like the Pygmy. Because of this, and the small size, Pygoras are ideal as pets and 4-H projects.

Housing / diet:
As herd animals, goats are best kept in pairs or groups. As grazers, they require an outdoor habitat that is securely fenced to prevent escape or foraging in restricted areas. The area should be large enough to allow the goat to roam. The recommended habitat per goat is 200 sq. ft. of yard or pasture plus a sheltered or indoor area of about 15 sq. ft. In the case of the small Pygora, habitat requirements are reduced. The sheltered area should be adequately built to keep the goats safe from rain and strong winds.

Keeping goats inside the house is not recommended because of the pet’s tendency to gnaw and chew on furniture and furnishings. Goats are also not known to adhere to toilet training.

The ideal food for domesticated goats is alfalfa hay and grass hay. This should be available daily in quantities of at least 3% of the goat’s body weight. Small quantities of feed grain and concentrates (often protein-enriched) like goat show or goat grain can also be given to add nutrition. Supplements are often used to address deficiencies inherent to local habitats.

Clean water is essential to a goat’s daily diet. It should always be available and provided where it cannot be soiled. Dirty and moldy water is hazardous to the goat’s health. Milking goats should be kept away from aromatic or strong-tasting foliage like garlic, onions, mint, and cabbage, which could taint the flavor of the milk.

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