Traditionally kept by the transhumant goatherds of the French and Spanish Pyrenees, the value of Pyrenean Goats has become obvious to many now that the breed is slowly disappearing. Pyrenean Goats are extremely easy to care for.
They are hardy and have good feet and legs. Well adapted to mountain life, they need shelter from only the harshest weather. Pyrenean Goats are remarkable grazers and can survive very well on poor or scarce forage in high altitude areas where other goats would quickly perish. A medium sized goat, Pyrenean Goats have full bodies with nicely sprung ribs.
The back is slightly sloping, curving down from the neck up toward the pelvic area. The tail is short and held erect. The heads of Pyrenean Goats are larger, with large muzzles and nicely defined eye arches. Their faces are straight or dished. Pyrenean Goats’ ears are long and are either held horizontally or fall pendulously.
Females often have medium sized, arching horns, although many Pyrenean Goats are born polled. Male Pyrenean Goats always have a beard, and both sexes sometimes have tassels. The coats of Pyrenean Goats are quite long and are found in a variety of colors from black, brown, white, yellow, gray or any mix of these!
Dark colors seem to be favored, and the face, extremities, and underside will occasionally be a different color than the body. This color is usually chestnut or gray. The strong, slender legs of Pyrenean Goats terminate in very hard, dark hooves. The udders are tight and well formed, with well defined but small teats.
With an average 210-day lactation, Pyrenean does produce four to five hundred kilograms of milk! Pyrenean meat is also valued. Kids may be slaughtered at 30 to 40 days and eight to nine kilograms, or at four months and 25 to 30 kilograms. Pyrenean Goats are an ancient breed and were once quite numerous.
They have been raised for centuries by transhumant herdsmen in the Pyrenees Range of France and Spain and the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain. They have traditionally been used for cheese making, although the meat is useful as well. Today, although there are around 50,000 goats of Pyrenean type, there are only about 950 purebred Pyrenean Goats and the numbers are declining.
Generally, Pyrenean Goats are pastured in high mountain meadows all year round. In the colder months they may be driven into lower pastures and in extremely harsh weather should be stabled. They are used to plenty of precipitation.
Pyrenean Goats can breed all year round, although, due to market constraints, their farmers generally create breeding seasons. The first occurs in spring and the second in autumn. Usually, Pyrenean Goats will give birth to singlets or twins, and they are good milkers.