The goat is a ruminant that was one of the first animals to be domesticated by man. A goat can be short or longhair. Goats can survive in harsher environments than sheep or cattle, and they are kept as a source of food and clothing, and as pets. In America, both Texas and California have particularly large goat populations.
Mohair is derived from the angora goat, which originated from the area in Turkey called Angora, now Ankara, the Turkish capital. Both sexes of the angora goat have horns, and the horns of the buck can grow up to 2 feet in length. Turkey recognised the value of mohair and began to export it in large numbers in the early part of the 19th century. Mohair has an elastic quality, and its biggest producers are Turkey, the United States and South Africa.
The Pygora is a crossbreed of a pygmy and angora goat. Oregon City pygmy goat breeder Katherine Jorgensen developed the breed, and the Pygora Breeders Association began in 1987. The Pygora produces three different types of fibre: a fibre with the appearance of long ringlets, a normally curly fibre resembling mohair and cashmere, and a fine fibre that is similar to cashmere. Pygora goats can live up to 14 years, and they make good pets.
Nigora are another goat that is a result of the crossbreeding of an Angora goat. The first Nigora goat was born in 1992, after an angora and Nigerian dwarf goat successfully bred. Named Cocoa Puff of Skyview, the first Nigora was a doe that lived to be 15 years old. Like the Pygora, the Nigora has three main types of fibre, and these fibres have elements of cashmere or mohair, or both. The Nigora is a goat that has a gentle personality.
One of the most desired of all goat fibres, cashmere goat fibres reputedly lined the Ark of the Covenant. The fleece of an adult cashmere goat, when given its yearly shearing, can weigh up to 1.13 Kilogram. Over half the world's cashmere is produced in China, but the United States began to import cashmere goats at the end of the 1980s, initially from Australia and New Zealand. Cashmere goat breeding is growing in popularity in the U.S.