"Goats By Breed - Oberhasli"

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Click for larger image! The Oberhasli is a Swiss dairy goat. This breed is of medium size, vigorous and alert in appearance. Its color is chamois. Does may be black but chamois is preferred. Chamois is described as: Bay - ranging from light to a deep red bay with the later most desirable. A few white hairs through the coat and about the ears are permitted. Markings are to be: two black stripes down the face from above each eye to a black muzzle; forehead nearly all black, black stripes from the base of each ear coming to a point just back of the poll and continuing along the neck and back as a dorsal stripe to the tail; a black belly and udder; black legs below the knees and hocks; ears black inside and bay outside; bucks often have more black on the head than does, black whiskers, and black hair along the shoulders and lower chest with a mantle of black along the back; bucks frequently have more white hairs through the coat than does.

The face is straight. A Roman nose is discriminated against.

Tayce Taipa, a 6 week old chamoise kid - Click for larger image! How to Recognize an Oberhasli Dairy Goat
Oberhasli dairy goats display a unique combination of color and patterning which is all their own. And though their color and markings can be quite striking, it's often the alert and inquisitive facial expression, the sweet natured temperment and the exceptional flavor of their slightly sweet milk that earns them such devotion from dedicated breeders.

Oberhasli are found both horned and polled (naturally hornless). In the U.S., dairy goats must be disbudded or polled if they are to be registered. Though horned Oberhasli are still quite common in Swiss herds, breeders are finding that having hornless goats for sale broadens their market for selling stock.

Star Showers - a solid black doe kid - Click for larger image! Bucks often have solid black faces, a 'martingale' of black hairs around their shoulders and solid black markings across their entire chest. The dorsal (down the back) stripe can vary in width and length on both bucks and does. Bucks often have longer, thicker hair in this region which can give them a rangey, wild appearance, especially when in rut (during breeding season).

As an Oberhasli buck matures his beard becomes more distinguished. Occasionally older does will grow a cluster or strand of straggling hairs but not a true beard. Like all the other alpine breeds, Oberhasli goats carry the genetic trait for 'wattles'. Wattles are those little tufts of hair covered skin dangling at the throat of this young buck. They are considered vestigal organs left over from evolution and have no known purpose. When passed on, wattles are present at birth and can be found on both bucks and does.

This is a pregnant/sitting oberhasli doe - Click for larger image! The Oberhasli head is framed with low set, forward pointing ears that give it an alert, ready-for-action expression. This breed characteristic is unique to the Oberhasli and sets them apart from the many other breeds sharing its European alpine origins.

The distinctive, consistent color and pattern seen on Oberhasli dairy goats distinguishes them as a 'color breed'. That consistent appearance plays an integral part in the assessment of every individual registered in the Oberhasli herd books and used in breeding programs whose purpose is to preserve and continue improvement of this unique population.

Through many years of selective breeding, the Swiss established or 'set' this very same pattern which has made the Oberhasli dairy goat recognizable worldwide. When individuals displaying body color or markings weakened by diluting color genes are used in a breeding program, one of the most recognizable traits of this breed is threatened. These weakened links in appearance may appear randomly in future generations if they are not culled out of breeding programs in the same way the Swiss Oberhasli founding breeders did years ago.

This is a walking oberhasli buck - Click for larger image! In America, due to the small number of imported animals and resulting limited gene pool, Oberhasli does exhibiting solid black coloring from head to toe have been included in the registry. The solid black individuals are the result of a recessive genetic trait within the original breeding stock. The black population is kept in a minority by breeder preference and by only allowing does, not bucks, to be registered. In that way, the frequency of black individuals is limited in the gene pool.

An overall display of strength, good width from front to rear, a nice flat topline and a slightly uphill line from the hip to the shoulder is what most Oberhasli breeders are seeking in their breeding programs. This young doeling may have a promising future ahead of her. Oberhasli are considered a 'medium sized' dairy goat breed in both Europe and the United States but what does that really mean?

The U.S. standard describes a minimum height for mature Oberhasli does as 28"/71cm at the withers with a minimum weight of 120#/54.54kg. Minimums for bucks are 30"/76cm in height and 150#/68.18kg in weight.

Reference:
Oberhasli Dairy Goat Homepage

American Dairy Goat Association, PO Box 865, Spindale, NC 28160. Phone: 704-286-3801

Photographs:
Courtesy of Jennifer
TwilightRain Dairy Goats

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