How Long Do Goats Live ~ Learn Which Breeds Live the Longest

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Whether you are thinking of breeding or just raising goats, or just curious, keep reading to learn how long do goats live. While they have an average lifespan, there are things you can do to increase their life expectancy as well. 

How Long Do Goats Live

There are two separate considerations: How long do goats live and how long can goats live. According to Guinness World Records the, oldest goat ever was called McGinty, and she lived for a total of 22 years and 5 months. McGinty died in November of 2003.

The simple fact that this made it into the Guinness World Records book indicates that it was extraordinary. Although they clearly can, goats don’t typically live that long.

Goat Lifespan

Most goat breeds tend to live for 8 – 12 years on average. The typical goat lifespan for most goat breeds is affected by a number of factors, such as:

  • Diet
  • Specific type of breed
  • Living conditions
  • Genetics
  • Prevailing weather
  • Predators and whether they can protect themselves with their goat horns

However, since technological advancements and skills in the veterinary field have improved tremendously in the past few decades, the lifespan of goats and other farm animals is slowly but steadily increasing.

Out of all the conditions directly affecting the lifespan of any goat, it’s their specific breed and habitat that matter the most. Some goat breeds are just genetically designed to live longer than others. When it comes to habitat, domesticated goats tend to live longer than wild goats since wild goats have many more life-threatening hazards and perils.

There’s also a slight difference in the lifespan of domesticated goats. Some goats are raised for meat, and there are those raised as pets. Goats reared for meat tend to meet their demise sooner than goats reared as pets.

Although goats reared for meat hardly ever die of natural causes. On the other hand, goats reared as pets receive more preferential treatment, making them more comfortable than typical field goats. This gives them a much longer lifespan.

Some goats inherit myotonia congenita – a hereditary condition – in which they faint. Fainting goats don’t experience pain and it doesn’t affect their lifespan.

Which Goat Breeds Live Longest?

goat lifespan
Fresh air and opportunities to browse make for happier animals 

Some goat breeds are hardier than others. These include the Nubian goat breed, which tends to live up to 18 years, and the Nigerian Dwarf goat, which lives up to 15 years. These types of breeds are just more resilient than others. Let’s look at some of the most popular goat breeds and how long they generally live.

How long do Nubian Goats live

This particular goat breed is very popular with farmers interested in raising goats for their milk and making rich cheese. Apart from that, the Nubian goat is also known for its long life span. These goats can live for 15 or even 18 years in the right conditions.

Another factor that comes into play with these goats is that they tend to be louder than most other goat breeds. This makes them a nuisance when raised as pets and predisposes them to predators. They need to be raised in a secure enclosure far from neighbors and wildlife.

How long do Nigerian Dwarf goats live

As the name suggests, Nigerian Dwarf goats are typically much smaller than most other goat breeds. They are also well-known for being rather friendly and forming bonds and social connections with their owners. This goat breed can live up to 15 years and is preferred for those raising goats as pets.

How long do Boer goats live

Boer goats are generally more resilient and resistant to diseases than other goat breeds. This makes them quite popular with goat farmers who raise them for their milk and cheese. Since they are so resilient, most of these goats die from natural causes at 12 years.

However, they tend to live for around 12 – 20 years. Another excellent quality that these goats possess is that they call for very little attention from the owner. They graze on weeds and grass and hardly fall ill.

How long to Anglo Nubian goats live

The Anglo Nubian goat is bred for its meat and milk production, even though it doesn’t produce that much milk. They are easily recognizable because they have a prominent Roman nose and long floppy ears. The Anglo Nubian goat breed tends to have a much shorter lifespan than most other goats. They can live up to 8 – 12 years.

How long do Pygmy goats live

Pygmy goats tend to live for about 12 years. The problem with the Pygmy goat breed is that they are quite susceptible to diseases and require a lot of care. However, with the right kind of vaccination and living environment, they can live a little longer than the expected 12 years.

How long do Saanen goats live

Yet another goat breed that has a rather long lifespan. The Saanen goat breed can live up to 15 years and tends to have a rather beautiful white coat and upright ears. This goat is mostly bred for its milk.

Because they produce a large amount of milk, their diet needs to be supplemented with additional proteins, which helps to increase their milk productivity. They are also perfectly happy eating any plant life.

How long do Alpine goats live

Alpine goats come from the French Alps. This makes this farm animal a great climber and quite resilient. An Alpine goat can survive in almost any kind of weather. Alpine goats are mostly reared for milk production and has a typical lifespan of 8 – 12 years.

Other goat breeds’ lifespans

There are other goat breeds, such as the Oberhasli goats, which also have a lifespan of 8 – 12 years, and the American Lamancha goat, which has a typical lifespan of 7 – 10 years.

how long do goats live for
Providing proper care for goats (nutritious food, fresh water, shelter, protection from predators and weather, enough space, etc.) will help increase their lifespan

How to Increase a Goat’s Lifespan

Even though certain breeds have a specific lifespan, there are some things you can do to help increase that lifespan. After all, McGinty lived for 22 years, way longer than any goat should.

Here are some ways to help increase the lifespan of your goats.

  • Keep them safe: Learn when can baby goats go outside. Also be sure to have a secure shelter for them to protect them for predators.
  • Provide a good living environment: Goats don’t generally do well in wet environments. It’s important to provide your goats with the right shelter that keeps them warm and dry. You can consider a three-sided run-in shelter in case a barn isn’t an option.
  • Don’t overcrowd: Learn how many goats per acre and how much space do goats need to be sure your goats can forage and browse on nutritious pasture.
  • Keep them active: A goat playground space for them will enable them to romp and play. Being curious, they will find it stimulating as well. A play area helps with socialization, establishing their hierarchy, and promotes positive behaviors. 
  • Provide routine health check-ups: Any domesticated animal needs to see the vet now and then. In many cases, it’s only a matter of deworming and checking for ticks. However, for goats, hoof care (trimming) and vaccinations are absolutely important if they are to live a long, pain-free life.
  • Proper breeding: In-breeding always leads to hereditary medical conditions in any animal. For goats, it’s important to have healthy breeding stock that exhibits a strong appearance and a cheerful disposition. You also need to quarantine new goats for a few days, even when brought in for breeding purposes. Learn how long are goats pregnant and about safely breeding goats to maximize their expectancy.

How Long Does a Goat Live

How long do goats live? On average a goat’s lifespan is 8 – 12 years. However, some goat breeds live up to 15 or even 20 years, depending on their medical care, living environment, and overall safety. If you plan are raising goats for profit, to feed your family, or as pets, be sure you can provide them with the care they need for as long as they need it. We have highlighted some tips you can use to ensure that your goats live through their specific lifespan or even longer.

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