The Bagot goat is a semi-feral breed hailing from at Blithfield Hall, near Staffordshire, England and believed to be the oldest British breed in existence.
The breed is quite possibly the rarest breed in the world, with between 200-300 registered breeding females remaining as of March 2018, as reported in the Rare Breed Survival Trust Watchlist. They are now listed as “Vulnerable” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The breed is also classified as a historical parkland breed, developed as a single isolated herd over the past 600 years.
It is not known who actually introduced the Bagot breed to the UK, though they are thought to have been brought back to the area by returning Crusaders. Another theory suggests the breed originated from goats already native to the UK.
The Bagot breed was first introduced to their adopted home at Blithfield Hall in the 1380s and it is thought they are related to goats from the Rhone valley. The goats are thought to have been gifted to Jon Bagot of Blithfield by King Richard the Second of England.
The exact ancestry of the breed is yet unproven, though DNA profiling has shown no links between the Bagot breed and the similarly coloured Valais Blackneck breed. This DNA Profiling actually identified that the goats originated from the isolation of native “Old English” goat breeds.
A small-sized goat breed, the Bagot goat have a head and forequarters which are predominantly black and hindquarters which are predominantly white.
They are known, on occasion, to don a stripe/star/blaze marking on their face, while the white portion of their body is often dotted with black dots. There are also many variations of the stereotypical black/white colouration, with five different named variations.
These are: The Red Cheek Bagot- (Red/gold colour on the cheeks of the animal), The Lightbelly Bagot (Dark colour along the back and muzzle, with white eyes and from the throat through to the neck and inner ears), the Mahogany Bagot (Gold “frosting” found on the outer ears and neck. Their coat usually looks black, though upon close inspection it has a red tinge to it. The breed also has what is dubbed make-up markings, again in gold, around the eyes, cheeks and lips), the Eyebar Bagot and the Lateral Striped bagot. Due to these varied colours, Bagot goats are judged on conformation rather than markings.
A horned breed, they have large curved horns which sweep backward with a very little lateral twist. Bagot does are excellent mothers, producing an average of one kid per year and usually never requiring assistance. There have only been two recorded triplet births ever, one in 1994 and one in 2017.
The Bagot goat breed have very little commercial uses, as they only produce a small amount of milk and cashmere. That being said, they are a truly beautiful breed and officially one of the world’s rarest.
Pictures - bagotgoats.co.uk