Is the Guernsey really a dairy goat?
Absolutely! In the United Kingdom they are considered a dairy goat, and quality individuals have won milking awards. In the United States breeding program quality ADGA Alpine, Oberhasli, Saanen, Toggenburg, and Experimental does were used as first generation crosses for breeding up programs. Several Guernseys and Guernsey crosses have been on milk test and records are generally higher than the breed averages for Nubians and Oberhasli. Guernseys and Guernsey crosses may be found on the milking strings of several commercial dairies across the United States. Questions occasionally arise because the Southwind Herd used one Spanish doe as a foundation in their breeding up program. Currently the descendants of this doe are not in the GGBoA database, and do not exist in any herd outside of Southwind. While these animals possess full dairy characteristics, they will not be presented for registration with ADGA at any time.
Do Guernseys breed true?
Yes! The Guernsey gold color is extremely dominant. It is related to the Saanen white, but when breeding a Saanen to a Guernsey the offspring are almost invariably gold. The same holds true for breeding to all other Swiss-type breeds. In the two decades that Guernseys have been in the U.S. with over 1000 Guernsey and Guernsey cross goats born, more than 99% have met breed standard. Of those few that did not meet breed standard, bucks were not registered and does were registered as grades (Supplementary Register).
What do you mean by “gold tone to skin”?
When we refer to a gold skin tone in Guernseys, we expect skin that is neither pink nor black, but a tan/gold color. This same coloring is often observed in light colored LaManchas, Nubians, and Saanens.
What is a “breeding up program”?
A breeding up program involves the use of a foundation dairy doe and semen from a purebred or British Guernsey sire in order to introduce Guernsey genetics into the lineage. Each successive generation is also bred to an HB2, BG or GG buck and, therefore, the Guernsey genetics are increased until the status of British Guernsey is reached. For more information, see the Breeding Up Program page.
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