What is an Old English Goat?

The Old English Goat is a small cobby, thrifty goat, suitable for providing a household with a regular milk supply and the odd kid for the freezer. It is generally hardy and noted for its long lactation, typically ‘running through’ up to 18 months and being kidded for milk every other year.

These goats have big bellies with a digestive system for dealing with bulky foods so that, compared with the large dairy breeds, they need little concentrate ration to maintain condition and milk yield.

Horns are usually left on these small goats, which may be various shades of black, brown, or grey with dark legs and with or without white patches. The outer coat is thick and has a cashmere undercoat (especially obvious in winter) and the nanny goats have a beard and, usually, ‘trousers’ and other hairy trimmings. Toggles on the neck, and Swiss-style markings are not accepted. Thomas Sydney Coopers’ painting below depicts and example from around 1850, demonstrating how well the modern goats match-up with their historic counter-parts.

Thomas Sydney Cooper painting “The Lone Mourner” circa 1850 – depicting an Old English Goat