It is not possible to import Golden Guernsey (GG) into the US; the strict animal health regulations do not allow goats to be imported. But for many years, some American breeders have wanted to develop a Golden Guernsey-type breed of goat. (Please note that golden coloured goats occur from time to time just by chance, but a golden coloured goat is just that. Being gold in colour does not make it a Golden Guernsey!)
To try to establish a GG-type breed in the US, Guernsey enthusiasts are grading up to British Guernsey (BG) status, using US female dairy goats of appropriate size and type with GG semen imported from the UK, to establish a GG-type US herd. There is also a very small number of pure-bred GGs in the USA (from embryos imported in an exercise several years ago). In 1996, the embryos were implanted into Spanish goats in Canada, which were then imported into the US in kid under USDA quarantine regulations, for the *SWIND* herd in NY state.
From this event, some male progeny are being used in the grading up scheme. When BG status is achieved, the goat is 7/8ths GG so it is very similar to the purebred GG. Diane Gray was the first person to achieve BGs in the USA.
Since the Guernseys first began to appear in the US in 1999, a few breeders have taken grades to various open fairs for display purposes and several 4-Hers have used them as projects for harness and agility classes at their roundups.
Grade Guernsey goats have been on DHIR test since 2004 to prove their ability to produce sufficient milk to show they are a true dairy breed. Their milk is sweet and seems to produce larger yields of cheese per volume of milk used, although fats and proteins are not exceptionally high.
The national breed club, Guernsey Goat Breeders of America (GGBoA) applied for acknowledgement of a Guernsey Breed Standard at the Fort Collins, CO Annual Meeting in 2007. This was accepted by the Board of Directors, which meant that it would be printed in the Appendix Section of the annual Guidebook, for interested members to refer to.
At the 2008 Annual Meeting in Re Park, CA, a demo was set up with live Guernsey goats, including a purebred Golden Guernsey buck so that attending members could have a firsthand look at a GG. This also gave a firsthand example of how prepotent the GG genetics are, as it showed how like the purebred the grading up goats were.
In 2009, plans were put into action to collect information on all the Guernsey breeders in the US, to be incorporated into a proposal for full acceptance of the breed by ADGA and to be presented to the Board of Directors at the 2010 Annual Meeting in Tucson, AR.
Golden Guernsey Goats
By Christine Ball
Gnosall, Stafford, England