Phenotypic Characterization of Indigenous Goat Population in Selected Districts of South Gondar Zone, Northern Ethiopia

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Belete Terefe
Getinet Mekuriaw
Solomon Abegaz
Tassew Mohammed


The study was aimed to generate information on the phenotypic characteristics of indigenous goat populations in selected districts of South Gondar. Two districts were selected based on goat population, altitude difference and potential for goat production. Body weight and linear body measurements were taken from 475 goats of both sexes considering different age groups. Dentition was used to estimate the age of the goats. Both qualitative and quantitative data were analyzed using SAS version 9.40. The frequently observed coat color pattern of goats was patchy (45.2%) for highland and plain (50.7%) for lowland and the main dominantly observed coat color type was red for highland (44%) and lowland (38.6%) goats. All the indigenous goats had horns in both agro-ecologies with the dominant shape to be curved for highland (48%) and lowland (52.9%) goats. Regarding horn orientation, the dominant was a backward type for the highland (44.4%), while it was an upward type for the lowland (39.9%) goats. The back profile was dominated by sloped towards rump for both highland (72.6%) and lowland (55.2%) goats. The dominant facial profile for highland was concave (55.9%), while it was straight (44.4%) lowland goats. The presence of a beard was more common among lowland goats, while wattles were more frequently observed among highland goats. Body weight and most linear body measurements were significantly (p<0.05) affected by agro-ecology, sex, age, and sex by age interaction. There were strong and positive correlations between body weight and heart girth as well as with body length, height at wither, rump length, rump width, chest width, and rump height for both sexes. Heart girth and body length were the best explanatory variables for estimation of body weight for the goat population in the study areas. Generally, the goat population found in both study areas was significantly different in phenotypic traits. The current information about the physical characteristics of the goats could be enhanced by conducting genetic analyses. This information can then be used as a foundation for developing effective conservation and breeding strategies. To fully reap the benefits of a breeding program, it is important to take a holistic approach that includes improving non-genetic factors as well.


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