Some breeds, whether sheep, cow, horse or goat, are very distinctive and cannot easily be muddled with another breed. The Anglo-Nubian goat is one of these. It has a proud bearing, holding its head high. The forehead is very pronounced and flows smoothly into a very convex (Roman) nose. The ears are long and pendulous. And – it comes in a great kaleidoscope of colours and patterns.
The breed had its origins in England. Prior to 1895, African, Arabian and Indian goats were imported into England and crossed with local strains in the hopes of improving the native animals. The hardy, long-legged imports were crossed with short-haired English does to produce the Anglo-Nubian (generally called the Nubian in the United States).
Anglo-Nubians found their way to Australia in the mid 1950s. Imports continued until 1959 when changes to the quarantine regulations prohibited further imports, although not from New Zealand. Swiss breeds were then used for upgrading as the Anglo-Nubian gene pool was so small. The Anglo-Nubian has no trouble adapting to hot conditions. It also copes well with the cold as long as it can find somewhere to shelter.
America saw its first Nubian-type goats around 1896. Then, in 1909, a buck and two does were imported by Californian, J R Gregg. These are believed to be the foundation of the American Nubian.
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The breed does not produce the same quantity of milk as some of the dairy breeds such as the Saanen, but it has a higher butterfat content than most. It is a true dual purpose breed. Crossing with other breeds invariably improves meat and milk production. The milk produces high quality cheese and yoghurt. High percentages of butterfat and protein results in lower processing costs for the producer. British Goat Society milking trials resulted in average yields of 3.89kg with 4.84% butterfat and 3.51% protein. This was over a 24 hour period. Daily yields of 4 to 5kg are common. However to keep up production rates such as these, does need to be fed well. Kids destined for the table grow quickly and flesh out well.
The Anglo-Nubian has great potential to improve milk production and/or meat quality in tropical countries when put over local, native goats. The Anglo-Nubian has a kindly temperament. It is intelligent and quick to learn the routines of a milking environment. They enjoy interacting with humans and are friendly and outgoing. They are also vocal!
When compared to Swiss breedssuch as the British and French Alpine, the Anglo-Nubian generally has shorter hair, especially along the topline and on the thighs, it stands more upright, has longer teats and a more pendulous udder. The breeding season is much longer and it produces less milk though higher in butterfat.
The Anglo-Nubian is one of the heaviest and tallest of the goat breeds. Males stand 94cm at the withers and weigh up to 140kg. Does stand 81cm and weigh 110kg. Bucks have a longer, harsher coat but both sexes are strong and robust.
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The Anglo-Nubian stands more upright than Swiss breeds. The long, deep body is well-balanced. The animal should stand foursquare with an alert manner. The head has an exotic elegance with its (very) arched nose, fine, tapered muzzle and flat nostrils. The long, broad ears fall below the level of the nose and lie close to the head. The rounded tip of the ear flares out slightly to form a 'bell' shape. The leather of the ear is thin. The cartilage is well-defined and the ear is covered with short, fine, shiny hair.
The frame is heavy with prominent withers. The brisket is broad and pronounced. The topline may dip behind the withers then rise somewhat to the hips. Straight, strong legs make light work of travelling to find sufficient forage. The does have well-developed udders. The udder may be more pendulous than that of a Swiss breed doe. The teats should point slightly forward and be placed squarely. The Anglo-Nubian has good longevity with does still producing reasonable quantities of milk at twelve years of age. Under good husbandry, does regularly have multiple kids with triplets and quadruplets appearing quite often.
Good bucks are defined by their progeny but they should be well conformed and deep in the body. A lethal neurological disease of newborn kids, beta mannosidosis, is transmitted by some bucks. Animals carrying the gene should not be used for breeding. As with the Saanen and Toggenburg, polled bucks, if bred from at all, should only be mated to horned does. Mating polled bucks to polled does usually results in sterile males or hermaphrodites. Anglo-Nubians may be horned or polled.
The short, glossy coat can be of any colour. Splotched, blotched, splattered, marbled, mottled, patched, plain – all are acceptable and in any colour. Most common are combinations of black, red and tan. The skin is dark. In show animals, only Swiss type markings are unacceptable as this would be indicative of infusions of a Swiss breed. Stripes on the side of the face would be an example of unallowable markings.