Are Goats Good Pets?

Written by Janet F. Murray
Updated: October 20, 2022
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The answer to this isn’t a simple yes or no. Depending on the temperament of the pet you want, the size of your home, and the amount of time you have on your hands, a goat may be the perfect pet for you. Goats are not typically companion animals like dogs and cats, but this does not mean you can’t keep them as pets. This article will explore the behavior and needs of these animals to help you decide whether having them as pets is a good choice.

Are Pygmy Goats Good Pets and Can you Keep Them in Your Home?

Goats are not as easy to train as dogs or cats, so keeping them indoors for most of their lives is not healthy. Goats are inquisitive and love exploring, prompting them to jump on tables, gnaw on furniture, and make a mess around the house. If you want a pet goat, you need over 130 feet of space for them to roam around and be happy.

The American Pygmy goat is an American breed of achondroplastic goat.

The American Pygmy goat is an American breed of achondroplastic goat, or dwarf goat, that’s a popular pet breed.


They Need Attention

Goats are typically farm animals and many people think they are low-maintenance and just need a space to live. But this assumption is wrong as goats actually need a lot of space and attention to be happy, healthy pets.

Most importantly, goats are herd animals so having only one goat as a pet is not the best idea. They need to socialize, so you need at least two goats. Having one as a pet could work if there is always someone at home to keep them company.

You must give them equal attention if you choose to have two or more as pets. Goats are extremely intelligent and will become jealous if their owners give the other animals in the house more attention. When goats get jealous or frustrated, they may become aggressive, but the aggression extremes differ depending on the type of goat you have.

How Much Space Does a Pet Goat Need?

Having goats as pets will not be the best idea if you live in an apartment or small home. Goats need space to roam, specifically outdoor, so having a large enough property is necessary.

No matter the season, your new pet will prefer to spend most of its time outdoors than indoors. If you are interested in buying one of these adorable animals, you need to know your city’s regulations. Some cities do not allow you to keep them in cities as they are considered agricultural animals.

Nigerian Dwarf Goat buck relaxing

Nigerian Dwarf Goat buck relaxing

©Steven Salgado/

If you have an outdoor space big enough to cater to one of these animals, you must ensure that your fence or walls are high enough. As we mentioned, goats are extremely smart and are expert climbers.

Consequently, your fence or wall must be at least 4 feet tall to ensure your pet goat doesn’t disappear. You also need to ensure that there are no trees or structures close to the fence or wall that the goat could climb on to jump outside their outdoor space.

Do They Need Shelter?

Again, many people assume that pet goats can easily withstand the natural elements because they are typically farm animals. This thinking is incorrect as all goats need protection from the natural elements, as do others. If your outdoor space receives a lot of sun, you must provide your pet goats with a shady area where they can relax and cool down on warm days.

A sheltered spot is also necessary for goats, especially during the colder months when it rains and snows. Examples of good shelters for goats would be a barn or stable. These areas must be insulated and water-proofed to ensure pet goats stay healthy.

Best Breeds of Pet Goat

There are currently over 300 different types of goats across the globe. Not all of these breeds are suitable to be pet goats, though. Here are some of the best species of goat to have as pets:

  1. Pygmy goats. These goats are among the most popular pet goat breeds because they are friendly and smart. Pygmy goats grow to be 16 to 23 inches tall and weigh between 55 to 85 pounds. In addition, you will learn that these goats’ coats come in seven different colors.
  2. LaManchas. LaManchas are among the most popular pet goat breeds developed in North America. They are goats with no ears, which is their most notable feature. LaManchas grow to be roughly 28 inches tall and have a very calm temperament.
  3. Nigerian Dwarf. These goats are petting zoo favorites and are one of the most intelligent breeds. Nigerian Dwarfs grow to be 23 inches tall and weigh roughly 75 pounds. These goats also produce milk which the household can enjoy.
Earless young LaMancha goat, close-up.

Earless young LaMancha goat, close-up.


The Lifespan of Pet Goats

If you are looking into getting a pet goat, you need to know that it is a long-term commitment, as goats live an average life of 7 to 14 years. Their lifespan depends on their breed, diet, and living conditions. Also, female goats tend to live longer than male goats, but often experience birth complications.

What Do Pet Goats Eat?

Pet goats are herbivores and eat various foods, from soft berries to hard tree bark. Goats have a stomach with four chambers which allow them to digest the hardiest plant material. Goats must have a mineral-rich diet. They need selenium, copper, and iron to be healthy. Some of a goat’s favorite foods are:

  • Acorns
  • Apples
  • Bamboo
  • Bay tree leaves
  • Blackberry bushes
  • Bramble
  • Cedar needles
  • Dandelion
  • Elm
  • Ivy
  • Ferns
  • Honeysuckle
  • Pine trees
  • Poplar trees
  • Poison ivy
  • Roses
  • Grasses

The photo featured at the top of this post is © ANGHI/

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with more than eight years of content creation experience. My content writing covers diverse genres, and I have a business degree. I am also the proud author of my memoir, My Sub-Lyme Life. This work details the effects of living with undiagnosed infections like rickettsia (like Lyme). By sharing this story, I wish to give others hope and courage in overcoming their life challenges. In my downtime, I value spending time with friends and family.

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