The Saanen Breed Standard
General Appearance (style & quality): Attractive dairy type, revealing vigour, femininity in does or masculinity in bucks, with harmonious blending and correlation of parts, showing no tendency to coarseness.
Head (skull, eyes, ears, mouth, nostrils): Head slender, medium length, well balanced on neck, facial line dished or straight, skull broad between eyes, polled or neatly disbudded. Eyes large and bright amber colour. Pricked ears, medium size carried well above horizontal. Mouth: well developed muzzle, broad lips, open nostrils.
Neck: Blending smoothly into shoulders, with or without tassels. Does long and slender. Bucks fine and strong, not coarse.
Backline: Strong, straight and horizontal from withers to hips.
Forequarters: Lean, high withers, set well into shoulders, which should blend firmly into body. Chest wide and deep in bucks, showing medium width and depth in does.
Body (barrel): long barrel wedge shaped, well sprung ribs, deep frame extending directly to udder.
Hindquarters: Gradual fall from hips to tail, good width between hips and between thurls. Rump broad and strong, pin bones wide and prominent.
Legs (hooves): Straight and strong. Forelegs showing proportionate width to chest, hind legs hocks well apart. Pasterns short and strong, hooves sound and well shaped.
Udder: Broad attachment high at rear and well forward in front and no pocket, not pendulous or unduly divided. Level sole, softly textured and showing good capacity. Skin tan.
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 udder. Set well apart, pointing slightly forward and down, not outward.
Rudimentary Teats: Two, set well apart slightly to the fore and side of the scrotum, of good size but not overdeveloped, unless the buck is milking.
Size: Does 32 inches (81 centimetres). Bucks 37 inches (94 centimetres).
Coat: Short and smooth. Bucks may have a longer coat.
Colour: Even white or cream, tan skin. Black spots may appear on ears, nose, eyelids and udder.
Differing From Ideal (found and recognized): Horned. Raised bridge to nose. Longer hair along back and down the quarters. Uneven tassels.
Faults: Cow hocks. Dropped pasterns. Roach or sway back. Size differing substantially from the ideal. Lack of dairy quality. Uneven gait. Lack of masculinity in bucks. Pink skin. Poor feet. Splayed feet. Low set ears. Weak or narrow chest. Shallow body. Steeply sloping rump. Even biscuit tinge as distinct from cream. Fleshy, pendulous or unduly divided udder. Pocket in udder. Teats: small; thin; large; bulbous; ill defined; unbalanced. Lack of milking capacity. Divided, uneven or unduly pendulous scrotum.
Disqualifications: Wry face. Double or supernumerary teats. Double orifices. Parrot mouth. Obviously undershot jaw. Undescended testicles in bucks or one testicle only. Pendulous ears. Broken colour. Dark biscuit colour. Intersex.
A Brief History of the Saanen
Saanens in Australia had a propitious start as improvement on settler goats was boosted by the Department of Agriculture in New South Wales (NSW) importing two bucks and ten does of the breed. The imports came from France and their homeland, Switzerland. They were located on the Nyngan Experimental Farm at Nyngan, NSW.
These imports were of good breeding quality and produced many excellent milking and 'type for breed' stock. A further two bucks arrived from Canada at Nyngan in 1929. These were not the only imports as Saanens from England were brought into Queensland. All the imports had a long term influence on the breed as over time large herds in both Queensland and New South Wales created a breeding pool which has assisted the Australian bred Saanen to world prominence.
The Nyngan farm closed in 1933 but the NSW State Government re-established a similar farm at Condobolin in 1944. Female descendents of Nyngan bloodlines were bred to two foundation bucks. The stud was prefixed "State". There were further "State" importations of two bucks and six does in 1948, a buck in 1951 and a buck in each year of 1954 and 1958. The "State" imports were not the sole arrivals as other first class Saanen stock from Britain were brought in by many non-government studs.
This huge pool allowed breeders to develop the Saanen in Australia to a very high standard milking goat. Good breeding and management brought world records for milk production, those held being successively passed a number of times by other Australian bred Saanens.
Saanens sourced from the United Kingdom and European origins had a history of careful selective breeding. The Pure Saanen from Switzerland found its way into Germany, France and the Low Countries in Europe and across the English Channel into Britain. Eventually in Britain two main streams were found as breeders there set about making a larger, stronger framed and high producing animal with a short coat.
Both these types, the Pure and the British (the name given the bred up Saanen), were brought to Australia. They also brought pink skins liable to skin cancers. Pink was not a worry in less sunnier climes but was something which Australian breeders had to address and turn into tan. This gave the breed the ability to withstand the strong Australian sunlight and the more open conditions under which many goats are run in this country.
Because of the husbandry and selection in its origins, the Saanen developed a placid nature, a breed easily managed in large or small numbers, in wide or confined spaces. This attribute along with its reliable production and breadth of numbers has seen it become a popular and practical choice for a broad range of goatkeepers.