Pygmy Goat aka Cameroon Dwarf Goat

Facts and History of the Breed

One of the most popular goat breeds of 2013 is the Cameroon Dwarf goat. More commonly known as the Pygmy Goat, this straight-haired dwarf of the horned kingdom is considered an exotic to all countries outside of Cameroon in central Africa. Similar types of this critter exist across northern Africa, southwestern Africa, and east Africa. Each of these small groups are breeds in their own right, however.

The breed that we now see in the United States is typically the French Cameroon Dwarf. This specimen originated in Africa but was exported to zoos across the world. Particularly zoo habitats in Sweden and Germany were first to showcase the Dwarfs, placing them in a group of animals listed as “exotics”. The first Cameroons reliably documented to have found their way to the United States did so relatively recently, in 1959. A family by the name of Rhue brought the critters to their California estate and the Catskill Game Farm in upstate New York. These Pygmies came from Sweden.

The American public, never previously exposed to this African animal, fell in love with it. The Rhue family’s shipment became the center of hype. The first offspring of the shipped goats were sold to zoos in the States, medical and science researchers, and some private parties interested in owning rare, exotic animals. Who those private parties were is of considerable interest to many, as they were likely very wealthy people of the time given the rarity of the animals.

Cameroons’ hair/fur adjusts to environments. If the climate is hot, it will shed to a thinner coat. If it’s cold and winter, it will grow thicker fur. The hair plays another useful role. On the face of Pygmies, it can immediately indicate the sex of the animal. Adult males have abundant growth on the chin, while the female’s beard may be non-existent or barely noticeable.

Physically, the Pygmy goat is not as small as one might think from the name. They actually grow to the size of a large dog. These animals stand 16 to 23 inches from the ground at the shoulder.

The weight of these goats can be comparable to that of a small adult human. They typically get up to the 120-lb mark. Though they may look small, their fur is covering up a well toned body of muscle and meat. If they were ever to want to charge you as a little “fun” or play, you might want to brace yourself for the impact!

A large “pet” to have, some say the Pygmy can be better company than a dog. Dr. R. Dean Scoggins, a retired veterinarian from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, believes the animal is a great companion. He was quoted by the University as saying of the breed, “Pygmy goats are very docile and are often kept as pets and as company for horses.”

This particular goat likes being outside but can cope with indoor living too. Nevertheless, if you should decide to keep one as a pet, don’t keep it inside permanently, and above all don’t overfeed it. A Cameroon Dwarf goat or any variety of pygmy can easily get overweight and develop health problems as a consequence.

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