The Toggenburg Goat – Milk
This dairy goat, often referred to affectionately as a “Togg” for short, takes its name from the Toggenburg Valley in Switzerland – the region where it was originally bred and developed. Historically, the breed is significant as well as it is one of the oldest still surviving and currently bred of all goat breeds. The oldest records still on file concerning the Toggenburg date all the way back to the early 1600s.
The History of the Toggenburg Breed
The Toggenburg Goat breed was officially recognized internationally back in the year 1892. Today, only a few thousand populate the region of Swiss from which they originated. This is a significant decline from the 1950s when population was above 20,000. However, New Zealand now also accounts for more than 5,000 head of Toggenburg as well. Today, both the New Zealand Dairy Goat Breeders Association and the St. Gallen Goat Breeders Association register the breed in order to track and protect it.
When they first were introduced to the breed, the British developed it further to create the British Toggenburg Goats which are heavier than their purebred cousins and produce better milk.
Characteristics of the Toggenburg Goat
When compared to other goat breeds, Toggenburg Goats tend to be medium build with moderate dairy production that has a 2-4% butterfat content. Physically, the Toggenburg exhibits the same Swiss Marked features and patterns Swiss breeds are typically known for. As for hardiness – a common characteristic to goat breeds – the Toggenburg ranks among the hardiest of any breed of goat.
The color of the Toggenburg can vary anywhere from a relatively light fawn color to a deeply dark burgundy or chocolate. There is no particular color preference in the breed. The breed is also known for its distinct white marks on its ears, the white stripes that appear on its face, and other white marking on its legs and hind quarters. Additionally, little skin protrusions, or nubs, on the neck are often appear with Toggenburg Goats. As for features, the face of the Toggenburg is often what is considered “straight” or “dished.” However, noticeably absent is the Roman nose.
As for behavior, Toggenburgs tend to be friendly and more quiet and gentle than some other breeds. Though they are dairy goats, these personality qualities often make them an ideal choice for a pet as well. Like cats, Toggenburgs are naturally curious about everything they encounter and, as long as they have room to play and graze, can provide hours of fun and entertainment the way the best family pets can.