Goat breeds
Conservation breeds

 Poitou goat

The Poitou goat use to offer bright business for local cheese cooperatives in its home region of the Poitou-Charentes, until an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 1920 decimated the population. Poitou goat herd numbers did not pick up again until the 1970s, when a breed conservation programme was initiated.

The Poitou goat has an instantly-recognizable long-haired coat known as "cape de Maure" (black or dark-brown with white coloring on the face, underbelly and inner legs and a white stripe either side of the bridge of the muzzle). Most Poitou goat farmers process the milk on-farm to draw added value from the breed’s dairying qualities (αS1 casein-rich milk content).

 Pyrenean goat

The Pyrenean goat was once found across the entire Pyrenean mountain range, yet by the early 1990s it has practically disappeared due to the combined effects of rural exodus and competition from selection-improved breeds. Regional-level action from farmers’ organizations and conservation groups managed to bring about a turnaround via a breed conservation initiative launched in 1993.

The Pyrenean is a mid-framed, relatively heavy-build goat, long or semi-long-haired with a coat of varying colors, often with mottling. The Pyrenean is generally bred semi-free-range, under meat or cheese production systems.

 Angora goat

Track records traces Angora goats back to 11th-centruy Turkey, but it was in the 19th century that raw Angora fiber became popular in Europe (principally England and France) as source material for the Mohair industry.

France-line Angora goats were originally imported in the 1980s, to enter an intensive breeding program focusing to improve the quality of the natural Mohair fiber (fineness, consistent quality, kemp-free). In France, Angora goats are shorn twice a year, yielding an average of 5 kg of raw hair per year. Angora product quality is protected under a quality stamp called “Mohair des Fermes de France”, implemented through the coordinated efforts of 200 Mohair-sector farmers.

 Corsican goat

Corsica has managed to safeguard the population numbers of its native Corsican goat by clinging to its island identity: 98% of goats in Corsica are Corsican breed. The Corsican is a long-haired goat whose fleece is found in a range of colors. It is robust, agile and mid-framed – perfectly adapted to its native maquis environment.

Corsican goats produce exceptionally protein-rich milk that is used to manufacture numerous Corsican cheeses, including the Brocciu, with Protected Designation of Origin (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée – AOC). A breeding programme was launched a decade ago to improve on milk quality while maintaining its hardiness and frame.

 Rove goat

The Rove is found mainly in south-eastern areas of France, although in the past Roves would traditionally flock alongside large sheep flocks climbing up to the Alpine mountain pastures, serving as guide to the sheep flocks, while providing the shepherds with a welcome additional source of milk.

Although Roves can still be used for this function, its main attraction is that it produces heavyweight kid goats and can be milked to make "Brousse du Rove", a cheese that has been filed for Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) status. The Rove is most commonly a deep red color, occasionally with white mottling, but its most recognizable feature is a highly developed set of horns.

 Des Fossés’ goat

The ’des Fossés’ goat is indigenous to the Normandy–Brittany area, where it was used for all-purpose subsistence farming, providing the family with milk, meat and hide – and even for drought by the poorest families.

This docile, light-framed goat with fairly long hair in a range of colors almost become extinct, but has since been rescued thanks to a dynamic breed conservation programme launched 5 years ago.

Species & breeds

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Key figures

  • 2,950 goats
  • 125 flocks
  • 3,770 goats
  • 190 flocks
  • 5,000 goats
  • 140 flocks
  • 28,000 goats
  • 200 flocks
  • 7,918 goats
  • 143 flocks
  • 732 goats
  • 106 flocks