WHAT MAKES SAANENS THE
BREED FOR YOU?
Since 1904 the Saanen has been one of the most popular breeds of dairy goats in
America. Some are drawn by the pleasing aesthetics of a pasture of uniformly
white animals. Some are drawn to Saanens by their large size, vitality, herd
compatibility and their “eager to please” temperament.
The largest part of their popularity, however, is due to their milking ability.
The latest figures furnished by USDA-AIPL show Saanens surpass all of the other
breeds with production averages for 1999 of 2351# milk, 3.4% butterfat and 3.1%
protein. The All Time High Producing Saanen record holders are: Milk (1997) JC-Reed’s
Cloverhoof Haley 2*M AS0894085 4-00 305 6571 168/2.6% 162/2.5% bred by John and
Colleen Reed, and Butterfat (2001) GCH AJ'S-Udder-Delight Karlada 6*M AS1049165
3-08 292-4540-246/5.4-120/2.6 bred by Andrea Green, Washington .
Another reason to consider Saanens is the interest and support that is offered
by the National Saanen Breeders Association. No other breed offers a more
progressive Association. NSBA has many programs that offer recognition for
Saanens and their owners, both through the NSBA web site and the NSBA
BREED STANDARDS The Saanen is the largest
of the all the dairy breeds. Although ADGA’s minimum requirements for a mature
Saanen doe is 30” in height, the breed average is 31-32”, with many reported as
large as 35”.
hair is short and fine, although a fringe over the spine and thighs is often
present. The hair is white to creamy white, with the white being preferred.
should be erect and alertly carried, preferably pointing forward.
face may be straight or dished.
Saanen doe has a majestic air about her, which coupled with her milk producing
ability, identifies her as “Queen of the Dairy Goats”.
HISTORY OF THE BREED
Saanens derived their name from the Saanen valley in the south of Canton Berne,
Switzerland. In 1893 several thousand head were taken out of the valley
and spread throughout Europe. Between 1904 and the 1930's approximately
150 Saanens were imported into the United States from Switzerland. Later
importations came in via England. 2004 was a special year as it marked 100
years since the first documented Saanen was imported into the United States.
Today they have spread throughout the United States as one of the preferred
dairy goats primarily because of their consistency in producing large quantities
of milk in conjunction with their sturdiness, easy keep ability and capacity to
tolerate environmental change.
Page last updated on 01/28/2014
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