South African Savanna Breed Standards (AU)

South African Savanna Goat Breed History and Standard

History of the South African Savanna Breed

South African Savanna goats were developed in 1955 in South Africa with the aid of natural selection of the indigenous goats of the area, the original breeders valued traits that would ensure the survival of a profitable animal under unfavorable environmental conditions, the goats were required to endure extremes of heat, intense sunshine, cold and rain. The result is a meat goat that demonstrates exceptional hardiness, the breed moves easily and can if necessary can travel long distances in search of fodder and water.

The breeding of this white South African Savanna goat started on the farm of Messrs. D.S.U. Cilliers and Sons, in a minimum care environment where the animals were expected to adapt, survive and breed on the typical Savanna Veld, local multi coloured lop eared goats were chosen for the foundation herd and the result was a fertile, heat and parasite tolerant, drought tolerant goat with good meat qualities, it has become a highly successful breed in South Africa.

The breed has a breed society established in 1993 and the animals are maintained by Commercial goat farmers all over South Africa. The South African Savanna White Goat should be a strong, virile, functionally efficient goat, it is of medium to large in size with lop ears, a thick pliable skin and a short smooth coat, it has an even temperament and a lively but not wild carriage, it should be able to utilize a wide range of vegetation, such as trees, shrubs and small as well as large bushes which are hard and even unpalatable to other farm animals.

South African Savanna goats have excellent reproduction rates and muscular development, it is noted that they are not seasonal breeders, providing producers seasonal control and increased market opportunities. The Does are said to be highly fertile and exhibit a high multiple birth rate under sub-prime conditions with excellent mothering ability, the Doe must be of a medium size but should also appear refined and feminine. Does with kids at foot should have good mothering ability and should aggressively defend their kids against dogs and other predators. Breeders have reported the breed is indeed an easy care animal, Does have been noted for having a tendency to wean kids later than the more popular breeds, kids exhibit strong growth with excellent meat carcasses. Bucks must be masculine, proud, robust and well muscled.

Characteristic Breed Traits:

Easy care, parasite tolerant, exceptional hardiness. Lively alert appearance, with an even temperament. Symmetrical conformation, with legs and body not too long or too short. A thick pliable skin and a short smooth white coat, during the winter months the goats do develop extra cashmere undercoat hair for protection. The goats should have strong jaws and strong long lasting well developed teeth. Exhibit a long and highly productive breeding life.



The South African Savanna has a fairly long, slightly curved head, the head and nose must be fairly broad and not sharp. The mouth must be reasonably wide with well muscled jaws.The upper and lower lips must be well muscled and mobile. The teeth of young as well as mature goats in the case of Bucks, as well as Does, must bite solidly and correctly on the dental pads of the upper jaws. No jaw or mouth faults will be tolerated, accept at eight tooth of age and older may show 6mm. protrusion. The eyes must be lively and surrounded by black pigmented eyelids, and skin must be protected by well developed eyebrow ridges. The ears must be fairly big, of oval shape and hang down next to the head. The ears must be well pigmented and mobile in order to protect the goat against annoying insects. The horns are dark black and grow backwards from the crown of the head, must also be strong and oval shaped and must not press against the neck and should not grow wild or be too long, Bucks have slightly stronger, heavier horns than Does, at the base there should be a reasonable width between the horns. Does as well as Bucks must be able to use their horns to protect themselves and their offspring.

Neck, Forequarter, Legs and Hooves:

The neck is well muscled and reasonably long so that the goat can easily reach high branches. The forequarter is well muscled and of medium width, a narrow or a very wide forequarter will not be tolerated. The front legs must be placed well apart and straight. The cannon bone of both the front and hind legs should be short and strong. The pasterns of the front and hind legs must be strong and springy and must be slightly sloping, straight or weak pasterns will be not be tolerated. The hooves of both front and hind legs must be strong, hard, black and reasonably big and the two sections of each hoof must be close to each other. The hooves should not be overgrown and must not easily become sore and develop foot rot. The scapulas or shoulder-blades must be strongly attached to the forequarter and withers. The processes spinosus and withers should be somewhat higher than the back and rump. In the case of older Bucks, medium sized skin folds are found on the forequarter.


The centre piece should be reasonably long and deep on the goat and must possess enough capacity to eat sufficient roughage and to convert it into meat and energy, in older animals must not be cylindrical or lack depth. The back and eye muscle must be strong and wide and not be straight, showing no signs of weakness. The South African Savanna Goat has well sprung ribs and an oval respiratory centre piece.

Hindquarters and Hind Legs:

The hindquarters should be wide and the hind legs must be well apart and straight. The rump must show a reasonable slope. The hindquarters must be well muscled and carry a lot of meat. The hocks must be strong and muscular and the tendons of the hocks must be prominent and easily seen, they should not turn in or out and the goat must be able to stand easily on its hind legs. The tail of the South African Savanna White Goat must be straight up and be well covered with hair and should be very mobile and the bare skin of the tail should also have black pigmentation.

Color, Skin Pigmentation and Hair:

The South African Savanna Goat is a totally white goat, a limited amount of black and red hair is acceptable, but red or black hair must be eliminated. Pigmentation must be dark grey to black. Light spots may not appear on Elite Does and Bucks. Any shade of pink is a cull defect.


Well-formed udder firmly attached.

Two reasonably large, well-formed, healthy and equal sized testes in one scrotum, a scrotum with a split no larger than 2 cm is permissible. The scrotum must be at least 26 cm in circumference. A twisted scrotum, or a scrotum of which the points are twisted is a cull defect.


One teat on each side of the scrotum is ideal, two on a side is acceptable.

2 Functional teats are ideal. Double teats are not acceptable, but one teat with 2 orifices are acceptable, but must be eliminated. Teats with a small blind teat are acceptable. The maximum teats on a side are 3: 2 functional and one small and blind, OR 1 functional and 2 small and blind. Functional teats with a small blind teat are acceptable. All teats must be separate from each other.


Undershot jaw. Knock knees, bandy legs, cow hocked or post legged or sickle hocked. Legs too thin or too fleshy. Weak pasterns and hoofs pointing outwards or inwards. Faulty sexual organs and udders. Incomplete or too light skin pigmentation. Any deviation from the normal body structure that will harm the functional effectiveness of the South African Savanna.

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