Goat breeds

Troupeau de chèvres Alpines - Crédit : Capgènes
Troupeau de chèvres Alpines - Crédit : Capgènes
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

The Alpine goat originated in the Alps, but has since spread to all the French goat-farming regions to become the most popular goat breed in France, accounting today for 55% of all goats under official milk recording system.

The mid-framed Alpine adapts to all dairy goat management systems: indoor, grass-fed or rangeland’s mountain. It has lost none of its hardiness and has kept strong-boned, well-balanced feet and legs. They are short-haired, and generally tan-shaded (brown-colored with black feet and a roach of black hair along the spine), although Alpines can demonstrate many shadings and color combinations.

The Alpine has a large udder, well-attached at both fore and rear, gifted with soft fine skin that draws back well after milking. The teats project clear from the udder, and are aligned parallel and pointing forward, which makes the Alpine ideally suited to mechanical milking.


A stringent breeding programme has been up and running since the early 1970s, coordinated by Capgènes and federating all the relevant goat-sector partners for both the Alpine and Saanen breeds.

Selection criteria primarily targets milk and contents production (quantity of protein and fat per goat and per lactation, plus milk protein and butterfat content) in order to quantitatively and qualitatively improve cheese production per goat. Other selection criteria were subsequently integrated, such as morphological criteria and αS1 casein, to enrich the present program.

Capgènes identifies the best buck dams within the selection flocks under official milk recording system and programs artificial inseminations with the best bucks available. Males produced from these planned matings are then examined and tested through a series of stages (on-farm selection, semen production centre, individual on-station testing, progeny testing). The 30 or 40 best bucks successfully passing these tests are shortlisted for artificial insemination.

Semen from these improver bucks can then be propagated by artificial insemination cooperatives, operating at national or indeed international scale: 25 countries, mainly in Europe, Asia and South America, use over 9,000 doses of French buck semen every year. What they get is unparalleled quality genetics and guaranteed livestock health and performance quality.


Key figures

  • 450,000 goats
  • 1,221 flocks under official milk recording system
  • 155,821 goats under official milk recording system
  • 42,762 artificial inseminations
  • Adult goat weight:
    50 à 70 kg
  • Adult buck weight:
    80 à 100 kg
  • Milk yield: 891 kg in 296 days
  • Fat content: 3.75 %
  • Crude protein content: 3.49 %

Official milk recording results 2014 - Institut de l’Elevage & France Conseil Elevage



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