The British Alpine is a large goat breed in appearance. They are normally black with white Swiss markings, however, sometimes a fully black animal may occur, often known as “all black” or “black Saanen” goats. This is due to a recessive gene.
British Alpine goats have a typical “wedge” shape that is predominant in some other breeds of dairy goat. They are often disbudded, alike many other dairy goats.
British Alpine Characteristics
British Alpine does are medium to heavy milk producers. Fat yield is usually between 3% and 4%. They are best suited to temperate climates and are reported to perform poorly in areas of high humidity.
The British Alpine is a tall, rangy and graceful dairy-type animal (that is, with a dished or straight facial line and a wedge-shaped body). The average height, measured at the withers, is about 83 cm for does and 95 cm for bucks. The breed is similar to the Saanen in structure and the Toggenburg in markings.
British Alpines are black in colour and the coat is generally short, fine, and glossy, although bucks may have longer hair. They have white or cream markings on various parts of the body. These markings may fade with age. Horns and tassels may or may not be present at birth.
The ears are erect and point slightly forward. The muzzle is generally squarish. British Alpines are very independent and tend to stay with their own breed. They are excellent foragers and have good jumping ability.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
Preferring free-range to indoor rearing, the British Alpine is an energetic breed that likes to roam and enjoys burning off its energy. If space is limited, consider a different breed.
The British Alpine is also a spirited individual and it is a difficult breed to keep as a pet unless you are an experienced goat keeper. It will not usually be aggressive, but the breed can be mischievous, which could lead to problems with other goats, animals, and even some people.
British Alpine Breed Standard
GENERAL APPEARANCE – (style & quality): Tall, rangy, and graceful with smoothly blended body exhibiting pronounced triple dairy wedge shape, fine but not inclined to weakness. Does feminine, bucks obviously masculine in appearance.
HEAD – (skull, eyes, ears, mouth, nostrils):Head long with strong square muzzle, facial line dished or straight, polled or neatly disbudded. Eyes set well apart, full and bright. Ears erect and pointing slightly forward. Side profile should show no tendency to undershot or overshot jaw
NECK: Blending smoothly into shoulders with or without tassels. Does long and fine. Bucks fine and strong not coarse.
BACKLINE: Back strong, straight and horizontal or rising slightly to hips.
FOREQUARTERS: Withers fine and high, blending firmly into shoulders. Chest full between the forelegs, deep in bucks, fairly deep in does.
BODY: Abdomen well rounded, large, deep, and wedge shaped, of proportionate length.
HINDQUARTERS: Gradual slope from hips to tail, good width between hips and between thurls. Rump long and flat, pin bones wide and prominent.
LEGS: Long, strongly boned legs, but not coarse or heavy. Front legs straight and parallel from front and side. Hindlegs straight and parallel viewed from rear, hocks slightly bent when seen from the side. Pasterns fairly short and strong. Hooves sound and well-shaped.
UDDER: Back attachment high and broad, fore attachment carried well forward and blending smoothly to abdomen, not penduIous or unduly divided, showing good capacity. Skin colour dark pigmented in black and softly textured.
SIZE (height):Does 83 cm (32.5 inches). Bucks 95 cm (37.5 inches).
COLOUR: Black with the following white Swiss markings – facial stripes from above eyes to muzzle and on muzzle, edges and tips of ears, legs from the knees and hocks down and insides of legs to trunk, on rump and under the base of tail. Facial stripes may fade in maturing bucks and may become grey on flanks with age.