The Saanen Breed Standard
General Appearance (style
& quality): Attractive dairy type, revealing vigour,
femininity in does or masculinity in bucks, with harmonious
blending and correlation of parts, showing no tendency to
(skull, eyes, ears, mouth, nostrils): Head slender, medium
length, well balanced on neck, facial line dished or
straight, skull broad between eyes, polled or neatly
disbudded. Eyes large and bright amber colour. Pricked ears,
medium size carried well above horizontal. Mouth: well
developed muzzle, broad lips, open nostrils.
Blending smoothly into shoulders, with or without tassels.
Does long and slender. Bucks fine and strong, not coarse.
Strong, straight and horizontal from withers to hips.
Forequarters: Lean, high
withers, set well into shoulders, which should blend firmly
into body. Chest wide and deep in bucks, showing medium
width and depth in does.
Body (barrel): long
barrel wedge shaped, well sprung ribs, deep frame extending
directly to udder.
fall from hips to tail, good width between hips and between
thurls. Rump broad and strong, pin bones wide and prominent.
Legs (hooves): Straight
and strong. Forelegs showing proportionate width to chest,
hind legs hocks well apart. Pasterns short and strong,
hooves sound and well shaped.
Broad attachment high at rear and well forward in front and
no pocket, not pendulous or unduly divided. Level sole,
softly textured and showing good capacity. Skin tan.
Testicles: Scrotum well
attached, relatively even and not divided or unduly
pendulous. Carrying two testes.
(two) Of adequate size for ease of milking, well
attached and distinct from udder. Set well apart, pointing
slightly forward and down, not outward.
Rudimentary Teats: Two,
set well apart slightly to the fore and side of the scrotum,
of good size but not overdeveloped, unless the buck is
Does 32 inches (81 centimetres). Bucks 37 inches (94
Short and smooth. Bucks may have a longer coat.
Even white or cream, tan skin. Black spots may appear on
ears, nose, eyelids and udder.
Differing From Ideal (found and
Horned. Raised bridge to nose. Longer hair along back and
down the quarters. Uneven tassels.
Cow hocks. Dropped pasterns. Roach or sway back.
Size differing substantially from the ideal. Lack of dairy
quality. Uneven gait. Lack of masculinity in bucks. Pink
skin. Poor feet. Splayed feet. Low set ears. Weak or narrow
chest. Shallow body. Steeply sloping rump. Even biscuit
tinge as distinct from cream. Fleshy, pendulous or unduly
divided udder. Pocket in udder. Teats: small; thin; large;
bulbous; ill defined; unbalanced. Lack of milking capacity.
Divided, uneven or unduly pendulous scrotum.
face. Double or supernumerary teats. Double orifices. Parrot
mouth. Obviously undershot jaw. Undescended testicles in
bucks or one testicle only. Pendulous ears. Broken colour.
Dark biscuit colour. Intersex.
A Brief History of the Saanen
Australia had a propitious start as improvement on settler
goats was boosted by the Department of Agriculture in New
South Wales (NSW) importing two bucks and ten does of the
breed. The imports came from France and their homeland,
Switzerland. They were located on the Nyngan Experimental
Farm at Nyngan, NSW.
were of good breeding quality and produced many excellent
milking and 'type for breed' stock. A further two bucks
arrived from Canada at Nyngan in 1929. These were not the
only imports as Saanens from England were brought into
Queensland. All the imports had a long term influence on the
breed as over time large herds in both Queensland and New
South Wales created a breeding pool which has assisted the
Australian bred Saanen to world prominence.
farm closed in 1933 but the NSW State Government
re-established a similar farm at Condobolin in 1944. Female
descendents of Nyngan bloodlines were bred to two foundation
bucks. The stud was prefixed "State". There were further
"State" importations of two bucks and six does in 1948, a
buck in 1951 and a buck in each year of 1954 and 1958. The
"State" imports were not the sole arrivals as other first
class Saanen stock from Britain were brought in by many
pool allowed breeders to develop the Saanen in Australia to
a very high standard milking goat. Good breeding and
management brought world records for milk production, those
held being successively passed a number of times by other
Australian bred Saanens.
sourced from the United Kingdom and European origins had a
history of careful selective breeding. The Pure Saanen from
Switzerland found its way into Germany, France and the Low
Countries in Europe and across the English Channel into
Britain. Eventually in Britain two main streams were found
as breeders there set about making a larger, stronger framed
and high producing animal with a short coat.
types, the Pure and the British (the name given the bred up
Saanen), were brought to Australia. They also brought pink
skins liable to skin cancers. Pink was not a worry in less
sunnier climes but was something which Australian breeders
had to address and turn into tan. This gave the breed the
ability to withstand the strong Australian sunlight and the
more open conditions under which many goats are run in this
the husbandry and selection in its origins, the Saanen
developed a placid nature, a breed easily managed in large
or small numbers, in wide or confined spaces. This attribute
along with its reliable production and breadth of numbers
has seen it become a popular and practical choice for a
broad range of goatkeepers.