A miniature goat is a type of goat which is significantly smaller than other goats. Several specific breeds of mini goat are raised around the world, and hybrids are produced by crossing these goats with larger goat breeds. The animals are also sometimes called mini goats or pygmy goats. Much like their larger scale brethren, miniature goats are intelligent, curious, and mischievous. They also make excellent companion animals.
One of the most commonly distributed miniature goat breeds is the pygmy goat, a breed which originated in Africa. Pygmy goats are stocky, small, and very agile. They do not produce very much milk, and are used primarily as companion animals, especially in stables. A related African miniature goat, the Nigerian Dwarf Goat, is a milk producing animal. The Dwarf Goat was used in Africa to produce milk because it did not require the extensive area and feeding that full grown goats do.
Many breeders create hybrid goats by crossing a normally sized doe with a miniature buck. These hybrids are raised for various traits. Miniature dairy goats are common, made by crossing breeds such as Nubians, Toggenbergs, and Saanens with dwarf goats. A miniature goat which produces dairy can be very handy for a small farm or a family with limited space. Miniature angoras are also bred, and some breeders have created miniature myotonic goats, also known as fainting goats.
When hand raised and frequently handled, a miniature goat makes a superb pet. The animals are often selected to accompany horses and cattle, and they tend to have a calming influence over a barn. The affectionate animals prefer to have friends around, so people contemplating the purchase of a goat should plan on getting two. In addition to being companion animals for other animals, these goats can also keep members of the family company, produce milk, and help to clear brush and scrub.
Like all pets, a miniature goat benefits from a healthy diet, shelter, and regular veterinary care. A routine of checkups at the veterinarian's office combined with a healthy diet will keep the goat fit and content. In terms of shelter, if a miniature goat does not have access to a barn, a small shelter can be built for the animal to use in inclement weather. Would-be goat owners should be aware that goats bore easily, and they can also get into trouble quickly.