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Conformation Matters

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Four Aspects

The Four Aspects


General appearance

General appearance refers to the combination of the structural aspects of the animal plus other observations such as dairy character, smoothness of blending of the body parts, freedom of movement as the animal walks, harmony, and health condition. In the show ring it can make the difference between a first place and a second placing.

Dairy Character

Dairy Character consists of those qualities that have been observed to correlate with enhanced milk production over time. Dairymen have made these observations for many years and they hold true for both cattle and dairy goats.   Thin, pliable skin; widely spaced, flat ribbing; a feminine appearance in does; fine shiny coat; deep but not coarse muzzle; a deep barrel increasing towards the rear; angularity; and of course a well attached, capacious mammary system all contribute to dairy character.

Body Capacity

Body Capacity refers to the overall ability of an animal to consume the large quantities of feed necessary for the production of milk, and also the carrying capacity she has for her kids. Dairy goats should be deep bodied, wide throughout without being coarse, and with a deep wide chest to accommodate her heart, lungs, and other organs.


The mammary system needs to be strong, well attached and capacious. It must be easy to milk, with teats that are easy to grasp and easy to express. It must be located well up out of the way of the feet and legs as well as ground obstacles that can cause injury. It must be capable of containing the production of at least 12 hours of milk without damage to the udder tissue or ligaments.

All four of these aspects are present in quality dairy animals.  In addition, they create an animal that is pleasing to the eye, and a pleasure to behold.

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