British Alpine

The British Alpine Breed Standard

General Appearance (style & quality): Tall, rangy and graceful with smoothly blended body exhibiting pronounced double dairy wedge shape, fine but not inclined to weakness. Does feminine, bucks obviously masculine in appearance.

Head (skull, eyes, mouth, nostrils): Head long with strong square muzzle, facial line dished or straight, polled or neatly disbudded. Eyes set well apart, full and bright. Ears erect and pointing slightly forward.

Neck: Blending smoothly into shoulders, with or without tassels. Does long and fine. Bucks fine and strong, not coarse.

Backline: Back strong, straight and horizontal or rising slightly to the hips.

Forequarters: Withers fine and high, blending firmly into shoulders. Chest full between the forelegs, deep in bucks, fairly deep in does.

Body (barrel): Abdomen well rounded, large, deep and wedge shaped. Of proportionate length (to height).

Hindquarters: Gradual slope from hips to tail, good width between hips and thurls. Rump long and flat, pin bones wide and prominent.

Legs (hooves): Long, strongly boned legs but not coarse or heavy. Front legs straight and parallel from front and side. hind legs straight and parallel viewed from rear, hocks slightly bent when seen from the side, pasterns fairly short and strong. Hooves sound and well shaped.

Udder: Back attachment high and broad, fore attachment carried well forward and blending smoothly to abdomen, not pendulous or unduly divided, showing good capacity. Skin colour dark (grey), pigmented in black and softly textured.

Testicles: Scrotum well attached, relatively even and not divided or unduly pendulous, carrying two testes.

Teats: (Two) Of adequate size for ease of milking, well attached and distinct from the udder. Set well apart, pointing slightly forward and down, not outward.

Rudimentary Teats: Two set wide apart slightly to the fore and side of the scrotum, of good size but not overdeveloped, unless the buck is milking.

Size (height at withers): Does 32 inches (83 centimetres), Bucks 37 inches (95 centimetres).

Coat: Short, fine and glossy, may have a fine grey undercoat. Bucks may have a longer coat.

Colour: Black with the following white Swiss markings : Facial stripes from above eyes to muzzle and on muzzle, edges and tips of ears, legs from knees and hocks down and inside of legs to trunk, on rump and under the base of tail. Bucks : facial stripes may fade in maturing bucks and (black coat) may become grey on flanks with age.

Differing From The Ideal (found and recognised): Indistinct facial marks. White hair around cheeks, forehead at the base of or on tassel (s) or on throat in place of tassels. Off white or cream markings instead of white. Colour tending to greyness (salt & pepper) around base of ears, throat or under neck. Less intense black. Other than grey or black skinned udders. Horned. Nose with slightly raised bridge. White ears. Uneven tassels, longer fringe along backline and hindquarters.

Faults: Rusty black coat colouring. Small white spots on body. Cow hocks. Steeply sloping rump. Dropped pasterns. Roach back or sway back. Size differing substantially from ideal. Uneven gait. Poor feet. Splayed feet. Low set ears. Weak or narrow chest. Shallow body. Lack of dairy quality. Fleshy, pendulous or unduly divided udder. Pocket in udder. Teats : small, thin, large, bulbous, ill defined or unbalanced. Lack of milking capacity. Lack of masculinity in bucks. Divided, uneven or unduly pendulous scrotum.

Disqualifications: Parrot mouth or obviously undershot jaw. Wry face. White patches on barrel or other than those specified above. Pink skinned udders. Double teats, double orifices. Supernumerary teats. lntersex. Lack of Swiss markings. White or cream belly. Pendulous ears. Undescended testicles in bucks or one testicle only.

A Brief History of the British Alpine

The breed was developed in Great Britain having its origins in a Sundgau goat, Sedgemere Faith, found in the Paris Zoo in 1903. She had a great influence on the breed but there were British Alpine type goats around prior to her discovery. The type standard was drawn up in the United Kingdom in 1919 after sufficient true to type stock existed.

A separate section was created in 1926 for the British Alpine in the British Goat Society Herd Book. Two half sisters from the "Dhunan" herd of Mrs. Laird, Scotland, arrived in Australia in 1958. They went to Mrs. Evan's "Ashton" herd in Western Australia.

The next year, two half brothers were sourced from New Zealand's "Ferncliffe" herd of Mrs. Hopping. The sire of the bucks was Kewill Kiltie and all four British Alpines had a common ancestor in Kiltie's dam. A small gene pool to say the least, and something which was to affect breeding capabilities in Australia for decades. All four imports were accorded Purebred status. The recessive gene for black in Saanens and Toggenburgs in Australia enabled the breed to be established.

Some breeders continued direct line breeding whilst others also upgraded using the recessive gene benefit. The last direct line doe of the 1958/59 imports was born on 23/9/1968. The next direct breeding lines were from more New Zealand importations in the 1970's from the "Ferncliffe" herd. Stock from other New Zealand herds followed these intermittently up until the late 1990's, some by embryo transplant.

There is now no recognition of the difference of sourcing of the Australian bred British Alpine in the Australian Herd Book. Whereas previously direct lines and upgraded lines had differing identifications now all purebred stock carries the same letter-prefixes, either APM for males or APF for females.

The breed is very active and is well suited to free range situations, especially commercial. They generally have a high quality milk and are known for their extended lactations. Also, they have a high inheritable trait for winter milking ability. Another surprising attribute is their ability to cope with heat, fitting them for the Australian climate.

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British Alpine