Colors & 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. (More information below)
Gold can range from cream (almost white looking) to dark red. Black goats will always be solid black based.
Patterns & Combinations
Patterns are different from colors. You won't find a gold buckskin, or a black chamoisee. Patterns are patterned and colors are colored.
There are 6 patterns:
Any of the patterns 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 to help explain what to expect and the relationships between them.
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 or face, 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 white/cream. A swiss marked ND will have facial stripes connecting to a light colored muzzle, solid light colored legs, light pigmented ears, and light colored triangles on the sides of the hips.
Cou Clair / Cou Blanc
Cou Clair (as pictured) have dark legs and bellies, a dark rear end, facial lines with dark diamond-like shapes above the eyes, facial lines, and a dark facial line that swoops from the temples to the jaw. Cou Blanc is a color pattern that changes everything brown to white, but the black remains.
undgau 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. Example from Jovial Acres.
Sundgau pattern from Jovial Acres
Bezoar pattern is rare in Nigerian Dwarf goats. It consists of a brown body, black collar, black belly line with a tan belly, tan legs with black cannon bone stripes to the toes on the front, and black continuing down the fronts of the legs, cuffing the ankles, and down to the toes. There are also dark facial lines to the snout.
A modifying gene can change 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.
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.