Nigerian Dwarf Colors
Nigerian Dwarf goats are an amazing breed! One popular aspect usually disregarded by show and milk breeders, is the amazing color options available in Nigerian Dwarf goats! Never discredit any attributes of any breed, as every bit of characteristic is an important staple that breeders have worked tirelessly to develop! Here you can learn a little bit more regarding Nigerian Dwarf goats coat colors and patterns!
Nigerian Dwarf goats have two ways to describe their appearance: colored or patterned. Each can be altered by modifying genes, and also have some fancy overlays!
Nigerian Dwarf colors consist of either gold or black. These two colors can also be modified by chocolate and silver, but there's more information on that below!
Golds can vary from a deep dark red to almost white (called cream). All are genetically considered gold.
Genetically true black goats will always be solid black based.
Patterns are different from colors. You won't find a gold buckskin, or a black chamoisee. Patterns are patterned and colors are colors. There are 6 patterns: buckskin, chamoisee, swiss marked, cou clair, sundgau, and bezoar.
Buckskins can come in 3 main colors: light, medium, and dark. Light buckskins have cream bases, mediums have a warm-brown base,and dark buckskins have a neutral/ashy brown base.
Buckskins are recognizable by facial stripes, cannon bone stripes, hip and leg markings, light bellies, and their cape. A cape is the black color that extends across the shoulder area. Sometimes, a cape can extend to cover the rump.
Buckskin patterns can have many variations.
Red buckskins are possible, but only when breeding a buckskin pattern to a chamoisee pattern! (No photos)
The chamoisee pattern is signified by dark facial lines, dorsal stripe, solid dark belly, and solid legs, with a brown body. The body color can have variation in shades!
Swiss marked patterns can be black with tan or black with cream/white. A swiss marked ND will have facial stripes that lead to a light colored muzzle, solid light colored legs, the ears will be lightly pigmented (never dark pigmented skin), and a light colored triangle on each hip.
Cou Clair / Cou Blanc
Cou can be described as pictured (cou clair) or also cou blanc. Cou blanc is the light colored version where anything brown is white instead. Cou's have solid dark legs, bellies, and dark hind quarters. They also have facial lines as well as cheek swoop lines.
Sundgau pattern includes a dark body with light facial stripes, underbelly, legs, and up the rear. Sundgau pattern also has cannon bone stripes like a buckskin in the front, but on the rear legs, the pattern connects from the body to the toes.
Sundgau pattern from Jovial Acres
Bezoar is a rare pattern in Nigerian Dwarf goats. Bezoar features a dark collar, dorsal stripe, facial stripes with a dark face, cannon bone stripes, dark belly stripe with a lighter underbelly, dark rear elbow cuffs, and rear leg stripes to the toes.
Any of the patterns listed above can be mixed! For example, if you breed a buckskin with a sundgau, you can end up with either pattern, or a combination of both! Kylie Wilcox of KW Farms has devised a clever diagram illustrating each pattern and its combination options as seen above.
Chocolate and Silver
A modifying gene can changes a goat's color or pattern to either silver or chocolate. You can have solid silvers and solid chocolates or silver/chocolate patterns.
For example, in a silver buckskin, all parts that would normally be light, would be modified to white. The parts that are normally dark will be changed to silver!
The chocolate modifier changes anything that's normally black to chocolate instead. In a chocolate modification, there will be no black at all on the goat.
You can only get a modification in breeding if you have at least one parent with, or carrying, the modification.
The chocolate gene has changed the typical black markings in this buckskin. All parts that would typically be black, have been modified to chocolate brown instead.
The silver gene has changed the typical black markings in this buckskin to silver. All parts that would typically be black, have been modified to silver instead, and all of the typical remaining lighter points are changed to white.
These are the fun parts! I'm simply calling these add ons because they don't change or affect the color or pattern of the goat, but more so, accessorize it! These include: roaning, white, moonspots, and frosting.
Roaning can be applied anywhere randomly or in a more patterned effect in a goat's coat. Roaning consists of white hairs intertwined among a goat's normal coat hairs. This goat is solid black, but has roaning and white which jazz up the the color!
White can be very diverse; sometimes in large patches, while other times in small random bits. White simply is viewed as being laid over a goat's coat blocking your view of its base coat color/pattern. The best way to describe white is like a paint spill on top of a goat!
Moonspots are various colored splatters with round or irregular shapes. Moonspots can present themselves on top of all patterns, colors, and other add ons! Moonspots will have a silvery-colored root hair color, and typically lighten with time. Winter/summer grow outs and sheds will change the appearance slightly. Moonspots are random, and may come in just a few, many, or cover large sections of the goat! Moonspots range in color but are never black or white.
Frosting is white fur with little black speckles in it. Typically found on ears and muzzles, but can also be around tails! In this example, you can see frosting on the muzzle and ears, and some around the eyes as well.