Nigerian Dwarf vs Pygmy Goats Difference

Nigerian Dwarf vs Pygmy Goats

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Like many of us, I’m sure you get confused while choosing the new breed for your farmhouse. Don’t you? Things get super overwhelming when the options look similar but they belong to different breeds. 

Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy goats are just an example of such cases as they both look similar to novice goat owners.

For your better understanding, let’s discuss these miniature breeds separately. We will then be comparing them to know where exactly the difference lies. 

Nigerian Dwarf

Nigerian Dwarf, an American breed, is known for its even temper and high spirited personality. Nigerian Dwarfs were bred and brought to the US to be kept as a companion animal. It was later discovered that it could fulfill the dairy requirements so the US Department of Agriculture registered them as livestock goats.



48 to 60 cm or 19 to 23.5 inches.


43 to 57 cm or 17 to 22 inches.


35 kg or 75 lb

Horn status

Hornless and Horned.

Pygmy Goats

Pygmy, an achondroplastic goat, is among the few American goat breeds that are compact and stockily built. They were first imported to be kept as a zoo ornament but within a few years they became popular as a “companion animal”. This African breed is also kept for meat and wool as well. 



16 to 23 inches


16 to 22 inches



50 to 70 pounds (22 to 31kg)


40 to 70 pounds (18 to 31kg)

Comparison between Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy Goats

Horn status


Now you know that Nigerian Dwarfs are kept to meet the daily needs whereas pygmy makes a great pet. See, they both serve differently. Your curiosity is developing. I can sense it already so let’s find some more noticeable differences.

Body structure

Pygmy goats are short and stocky whereas Nigerian Dwarfs have elongated bodies just like the full-sized dairy goats.  A straight nose, upright ears, pronounced abdominal tucks, graceful delicate neck makes Nigerian Dwarf appear more balanced and well proportioned. Pygmy goats may look adorable but unlike Nigerian Dwarf they lack refinement. No doubt they are both small but Nigerian Dwarf is a bit bigger than the pygmy goats. 

Milk and Meat production


As mentioned-above, Pygmy goats are either kept as a pet or to meet the meat requirements of the town whereas Nigerian Dwarf is known for its high-quality butterfat milk.

Normally, Nigerian Dwarfs are noticed producing around two-quarters of milk every day but pygmy goats manage to make one or two quarts a day.  Since Nigerian Dwarfs are known for their remarkable milking ability they keep on producing butterfat milk for almost 305 days where the milking cycle of Pygmy goats is a bit shorter, lasting 120 to 180 days only.


Nigerian Dwarfs are raised for milk but not for meat. Even though like Nigerian Dwarfs, pygmy goats are small but they are thickly muscled, valid enough to keep them solely for meat.


In most cases, size confuses the buyer. The difference in the size can only be noticed if you look at both breeds with more curiosity as they are ” almost” of the same size.

Nigerian Dwarfs are considered a bit longer and bigger than the pygmy goats but in reality, they look bigger and longer only because they have thin long legs, graceful neck, and the rest of the body quite similar to the dairy goats. Whereas pygmy goats look shorter because of their stocky built structure and thick shorter legs. 


Nigerian Dwarfs are famous for their bright blue eyes whereas pygmy goats have got the brown eyes. Both breeds have attractive coat colors for pygmy goats white, dark red, caramel, silver, brown, and black are more in the spotlight, and in the other case, black, chocolate, and gold color (with red, white, gold, and black marks) is in fashion.

Behavior and handling

For their gentle, fun-loving, friendly nature they both were considered to be kept as a companion animal. These tiny creatures are not hard to handle. They just love having more space to play around.

Oestrus cycle

Both breeds can be bred anytime in the year except Fall and like most of the goat breeds they go into heat every 21 days and this cycle usually lasts one to three days.

Now you know the basic differences so let’s settle the “Pygmy or Nigerian Dwarf” debate.

Nigerian Dwarf vs Pygmy Goats comparison

So, Pygmy or Nigerian Dwarf?

These adorable creatures are easy to handle and good for their defined purposes. If you are looking for a goat that should fulfill your butterfat milk demand Nigerian Dwarf is for you.

It’s not that Pygmy goats can not produce enough milk, they do produce milk but the quantity remains lower than the Nigerian Dwarf. Pygmy would be an economical option for those who are raising goats solely for meat. And I expect, you know why are you thinking of raising a goat right?

But if you are looking for a pet goat I would suggest you sit and observe these tiny creatures for some time. You would know which breed moved you.

What about the Nigerian Pygmy mixed breed?

A mixed-breed will have the characteristics of both breeds and it sounds like a win-win.  But still, you need to be sure about the fact that it cannot be registered.

If it’s okay for you. Go for it.

And if the milking ability concerns you, milk it to save yourself from future disappointment. If this new mixed breed looks more compact and stocky know that it is more pygmy than Nigerian Dwarf.

I hope I’m able to clear your doubts and confusion. It was hard to highlight their flaws(couldn’t come up with the right word) as they are close to my heart. Whichever breed you are going to go for now I bet it’s gonna be fun.

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