The Chamois Goat – Hide
A rugged mountain goat-antelope species often raised or hunted for the high quality leather than can be made from its hide as well as for meat. The Chamois has been known in its traditional home in the Pyrenees and French Alps for hundreds of years.
The History of the Chamois Goat
Native to the mountainous regions of Europe (like Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Romania, etc.), the Chamois has been introduced to a number of other parts of the world where it is now also bred and raised (including New Zealand). Foxes, wildcats, and wolves have all traditionally hunted the Chamois for meat – as have humans.
Laws in the EU currently protect the Chamois from hunting in order to preserve the species though this is simply a precautionary measure at this point because the breed is not considered endangered or even under threat of becoming endangered.
The Characteristics of the Chamois Goat
When compared to other breeds, the Chamois is a rather large mountain goat. At full size, the average adult Chamois stands about 75cm tall and weighs around 50 kg a piece. In general, the breed is rather stocky, especially compared to the normal dairy or farmyard brush goat.
The horns of the Chamois of both sexes curve backwards. The fur is thick and well suited for the alpine climes these goats are used to. Their coats can vary from dark brown in the summer to an ashen gray in the winter time. Their white faces normally are marked with black underneath their eyes, and the Chamois also has its characteristic black stripe down the length of its back.
Males exhibit a bit more solitary behavior while females tend to move in packs with young to provide safety in numbers. Typically, the goats mate during the very early spring. The typical gestation period is around 6 months and typically a single calf is born. Chamois will live an average of twenty years or so.