The diagram above (posthumously using Joey as a model) shows the different parts of a pygmy goat. (Diagram: David Watts)
Pygmy goats are a breed of small domestic goat, and are normally kept as pets, rather than being kept for agricultural purposes. As with all goats, pygmies have stomachs with four compartments; and as browsers, they enjoy variety in their diet. Pygmy goats are hardy animals, and can adapt to virtually all climates. They enjoy exploring and jumping around on items such as boxes, benches and tables. Pygmy goats can have an affectionate and caring nature if they are treated with respect.
Female pygmy goats weigh approx. 23 - 34 kg; while male pygmy goats normally weigh about 27 - 39 kg. Their height can range from 16 to 23 inches, and the colour of their fur can vary in colour; but the most common colours are white, black, brown and grey (or a mixture of all four). Male pygmy goats are often darker than female ones. If you multiply a goat's age by seven, you get the equivalent human age. This also applies to dogs and other animals which have similar life spans.
The pygmy goat was originally called the Cameroon Dwarf Goat, which originated in the former French Cameroon area, and was mostly restricted to West African countries. Similar breeds of pygmy goats also be found in most other parts of Africa.
The Cameroon Dwarf goats were exported from Africa to zoos in Sweden and Germany where they were on display as exotic animals. In 1959 and 1960, the Rhue family in California and the Catskill Game Farm in New York, received the first documented shipments of pygmy goats from mainland Europe. Offspring of these animals, as well as earlier imports, were sold to zoos, medical research insitutions, and to some private individuals; eventually making their way to England, Canada and other parts of the USA; places where they can all be found today.
For more information on how to care for pygmy goats and look after them, including what they eat, visit the Caring for pygmy goats section.