Animal Diaries Archive
Tip Top Toggenburgs
27 October 2006
This week we thought we’d introduce you to a very old breed of goat, that we have been lucky enough to rear in Kids Zoo from time to time - in fact, they were the first officially recognised dairy goat breed! They are the Toggenburgs (what a mouthful!), a type of dairy goat from Switzerland, named after the Toggenburg Valley in which they originated, and they are renowned for producing milk of a very high quality. Though it can’t be proven, some claim that by the time dairy goat farmers began developing Toggenburgs overseas (namely in America in the early 1900s), it had already been breeding pure for some three hundred years!
Aside from their popularity as a milking animal, however, Toggenburgs also earn some of their popularity simply for being the beautiful, clever animals that they are. They can be found in every shade of brown, from an almost golden shade of fawn to a brown so rich and dark as to almost be black, and they always bear what are known as ‘Swiss markings’ in white or cream. These markings include attractive white stripes from above the eyes to the tip of the muzzle, white edging of the ears, white ‘stockings’ on all four legs, and white around the tail. When fully grown, they stand on average between eighty and ninety centimetres tall at the withers, making them one of the smaller breeds of goat out there, but they are strong, broad-chested animals nonetheless. In contrast to the calmer, more docile Saanen goats we introduced you to a few weeks ago, Toggenburgs are bright, alert and active, with strong personalities, and they respond well to training.
Drop into Kids Zoo next time you’re at the Zoo, and see if you can work out whether we have any Toggenburgs around! They’re gorgeous, very distinctive, and great fun to get to know. Toggenburg goats rule!