The term stature refers to the overall skeletal size
and length of the goat. They need to have an adequate length of cannon bone from
knee to pastern and above average in overall length of body and general size. The
cannon bone length is a good indication of skeletal size. The goats height measured at the withers should be slightly more
than at the hips, the bones should be of good size.
The head should combine the beauty of eyes, nose,
ears, and overall from with strength and refinement. It should have balance of
length, width and substance that insures an ability to consume large amounts of forage with ease.
front end is a combination of chest and shoulder features. The goat should have
wide chest floor and prominent brisket with a smooth blending of shoulder blades and sharp withers. This insures room for the heart and lungs to do their work with ease and also is evidence of proper muscle
and ligament strength.
goats front legs should be straight, perpendicular to the ground, sound in the knees and full at the point of the elbow. The legs should move with the front feet pointing straight ahead.
Back: A back that is
straight, strong, wide, long and level is desired in goats. This denotes a strong
body build with good muscling and is indicative of strength to carry large quantities of feed.
Rump: The goats rump
should be long, wide and level from the stifle to stifle cleaning fleshed and have a slight slope from hips to pins. The shape of the rump is important as it affects leg set.
goats rear legs should be wide apart and straight when viewed from the rear, with clean hocks and a good combination of bone
refinement and strength. Observed from the side, a plumb line originating at
the pin bone would fall parallel to the leg bone from hock to pastern and touch the grounds behind the heel of the foot. The resulting angles produced at the hock and stifle joint will be most ideal for
easy walking a and a minimum of joint problems.
Feet: Meat goats need
strong pasterns and strong, well-formed feet with tight toes, deep heel and level sole.
Such feet are highly resistant to injury or infection and easy to keep trimmed.
Goat with uneven toes and extremely weak pasterns should be culled.
Muscle: Meat characteristics
can be visually determined by examining the animal hindquarters, loin, shoulders
Hindquarters: A long, deeply
attached muscle, relatively thick at the thigh and stifle is desirable in meat goats.
Heavier muscling on the outside of the leg is acceptable. Muscle over
the thurl and rump should be obvious.
Loin: The loin eye
or ribeye is typically the best indicator of meatiness in market goats. It should be wide with a symmetrically oval shape on each side of the backbone. This muscle should carry forward over the ribs or rack.
Shoulders: The goats muscling
should increase from the withers to the point of the shoulder with the thickest muscle occurring immediately above the chest
floor. The circumference of the forearm is the second most important indicator
of meatiness, so the forearm muscle should exhibit a prominent bulge and should tie- in deep into the knee.
Neck: The juncture
of the neck and shoulder should be free of excess tissue. It should gently slope
to indicate muscling. Smoothness and quality are important in this area. A long clean neck with muscling in balance to the remainder of the animal is desired.
Condition: The term condition
refers to the amount of finish or fat the animal is carrying. Goats deposit fat
internally before they do externally. The ideal condition is a thin, but uniform,
covering over the loin, rib and shoulder. The external fat thickness over the
loin at the 13th rib should be between .08 to .12 inches or an average
Acknowledgements: Much of
the information used for this criteria was taken from Texas Agricultural Extension Service publication B-5018.