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Goat of a Different Color

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

The San Clemente Breeders Association has recently been discussing breed standards for the San Clemente Island Goat. While most agree that having consistent terminology is important, there has been some debate over whether or not strict "breed standards" are important at this stage of the SCIG re-emergence, and if so, exactly what those should be.

Several factors figure in to this. Some would like to see the SCIG bred as primarily a meat goat, while other prefer dairy or fiber. This gets into size, udder structure and other factors. Some prefer to breed their goats bigger, smaller, wider.... you get the idea! Others prefer to take their goats - big or small - as they come.

These two are about the same age!

One of the main areas of discussion, however, is color. The "classic" San Clemente Island Goat is dark brown or black in the front, tan in the back. There is usually a stripe down the spine, and they have pale stripes on either side of the face. The females have dainty horns that sweep back, the males have large Spanish-style horns that can any any of a number of things! The males also have a great big beard, the females may or may not have a single chin-lock.

However, "classic" isn't the only option. Coloring can include a variety of shades of brown and black, and how far back the black goes can vary widely from goat to goat.

Willow (right) has the "classic" look while her sister is a darker version

The males can also have vastly different coloring. Our boys are at the opposite end of the spectrum, with Carson's hind end being a very pale brown - almost a cream color. Saffron, on the other hand, has black that travels all the way to his hind legs. In addition, his stripe is less distinct that Caron's. Carson has already begun to develop a beard while Saffron - who is about the same age - looks and behaves less maturely. And, of course, we cannot forget Carson's head-poof!

White goats are also a subject of discussion among SCIG breeders. While some bucks have been born bearing Carson's "cream" coloring over their entire bodies, there are those who believe that a pure white SCIG must have other genetics in their background. To my knowledge, that has been neither confirmed, nor definitely disproved. However, patches of white are definitely possible in San Clemente Island Goats, as our own lovely Violet can attest!

While breed standards are important for both show purposes and the health of animals, it is often the wildness of the the SCIG nature - including their variety - that makes them attractive to people. And so the debate continues...

What do you think?

Edit: According to the President of the SCIGA, the organization is officially "looking at a breed description which is much more grey than a standard." Thank you for the clarification!

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