American LaMancha Goats – Milk
This formally recognized dairy goat is the only such breed to have been developed in America. Like all domestic goats, the American LaMancha, or the “Lamancha” as it is sometimes referred to, is a member of the Capra hircus. It was first developed and bred in the US in the Pacific NW by Mrs. Eula Fay Frey.
Perhaps the most recognizable or distinctive of any domesticated goat breed, the LaMancha is well known for its very easy to recognize and characteristically short ears. As livestock, the breed is well respected for its ability to produce high quantities of relatively high butterfat milk.
History of the LaMancha Goat
This short-eared dairy breed was first recognized as a distinctive breed back in the 1905s, though short or no-eared goats have been around for far longer than this and perhaps contribute to the modern American LaMancha Goat breed. Upon initial registration, there were more than 200 goats accepted into the new classification, including Eula Fay’s Ernie.
The precise bloodlines of the LaMancha are, unfortunately, unknown. Earless goats have been mentioned throughout history and were even on display from La Mancha, Spain at world trade events in the early 20th century. These earless breeds hit the world market and further variations were made here in the US throughout the 20s and 30s by numerous breeders including Fay by crossbreeding with other dairy breeds to enhance the LaMancha’s ability to produce milk. These breeding efforts resulted in the original classifications for LaMancha Goats when they were first recognized in 1958. Specifically, LaMancha Goats are classified by their most noticeable feature – their ears.
LaMancha Goat Ear Types
When LaMancha Goats were first recognized as a breed, there were four types of ears that they could have:
- Gopher Ears: These have a max length of up to an inch, but the ideal are basically non-existent and have little to no cartilage. The ears end must be turned either down or up. This is the only acceptable buck ear type for LaMancha Goats.
- Elf Ears: These can be up to 2 inches. Like gopher ears, they must be turned up or down. Cartilage is allowed.
- Long Gopher Ears: These are no longer recognized as LaMancha Goats after 1960.
- Cookie Ears: These are no longer recognized either, but were noted by the way they turned back against and hugged the head.
Today, only Gopher and Elf (short elf) ear types can be registered as LaMancha. This helps preserve their well-known and easily recognizable look.
Characteristics of the LaMancha Goat
Besides their ears, LaMancha Goats have some other distinguishing characteristics. As stated, ears are short (no more than 2 inches and preferably longer) with their ends turned up or down. Other characteristics:
- The LaMancha’s coat can come in a great variety of both patterns and colors.
- The breeds face is marked by its slightly dished or straight profile.
- As far as personality goes, the breed is known for its curiosity. It is also quieter than other breeds and known to be affectionate and easy to look after.
- When it comes to physical dimensions:
- Bucks typically stand 30 inches or more and can weigh over 160 lbs.
- Does are usually smaller, typically 28 inches or less and around 130 lbs.
- LaManchas are extremely hardy and do well in almost any climate.
- Their peculiar ears may need special attention as they can trap moisture or debris which requires cleaning.
- LaManchas are intelligent and simple fencing techniques will not work to deter their curiosity. Goat proof gates and fences must be used.
- It is extremely easy to milk LaMancha’s and a Doe can produce for up to two years without having to be re-bred.