Animal Genetic Resources
International Livestock Research Institute
PO Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
General Breed Information
Breed Name/Strain :
Africander, South African Common
Breed Group Name:
Developed goat breeds
Three composite goat breeds are known in this group: the famous Boer of South Africa, the West African twisted-horn Vogan and the Tanzanian Blended goat. The Boer goat was developed by Dutch settlers at the Cape mainly out of the indigenous Bantu stocks through selection for improved meat production since the 1920s. Subsequently goat breeds of European and Indian origin were used to upgrade the breed standard. The lop ears and often convex facial profile of the Boer may have arisen from Indian breeds (e.g. Jamnapari) imported during the 18th and 19th centuries. The breed society for the “improved Boer” was established in South Africa in 1959. The breed has spread east into Mozambique where the Pafuri breed evolved from mating the local Landim does with the Boer bucks (Epstein, 1971; Mason, 1984).
Breed Origin :
Conformation and colour suggest that the parents of this breed originated from the crossing of local Bantu goats with the Dutch and Indian goats. The improved population was established from the 1920s although the name Boer was used in the mid-19th century. The modern Boer originated in the Eastern Cape through selection from this population. These animals were kept in thornveld areas for bush control. A Boer Goat Breeder's Association was former in 1949 to improve the breed, to establish breed standards and to develop training, inspection, promotion and marketing capacity (Wilson, 1991; Ramsay, n.d.).
South Africa is the main location. The breed has been exported to Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Small populations were also imported to Kenya, Burundi and Tanzania. Total population might be about 5 million, about 2.2 million of which are known as "improved". The improved Boer performs best in arid areas of South Africa, where the production systems are agro-pastoral, pastoral and ranching (Wilson, 1991).
A red-headed large framed goat with a white body; the best meat goat in the world; a good browsers that can be used to control bush and weeds; has excellent quality skin and tender tasty meat at a young age; low fat meat; also produces good quality white cashmere in small quantities; high fertility from multiple births including triplets and quadruplets; it is non-seasonal breeder (Ramsay, n.d.).