Alpine Breed Standard

American Dairy Goat Association

The Alpine Dairy Goat is also referred to as the French Alpine and registration papers for this dairy goat use both designations and they are synonymous. The Alpine dairy goat is a medium to large size animal, alertly graceful, and the only breed with upright ears that offers all colors and combinations of colors giving them distinction and individuality. They are hardy, adaptable animals that thrive in any climate while maintaining good health and excellent production. The hair is medium to short. Mature does are expected to be no less than 30 inches at the withers and weigh no less than 135lbs. Mature bucks are expected to be no less than 32 inches at the withers and weigh no less than 170lbs. The face is straight. A Roman nose, Toggenburg color and markings, or all-white is discriminated against. Alpine colors are described by using the following terms:

COU BLANC (coo blanc) – literally “white neck” white front quarters and black hindquarters with black or gray markings on the head.

Alpine Color Cou Blanc

COU CLAIR (coo clair) – literally “clear neck” front quarters are tan, saffron, off-white, or shading to gray with black hindquarters.

Alpine Color Cou Clair

COU NOIR (coo nwah) – literally “black neck” black front quarters and white hindquarters.

SUNDGAU (sundgow) – black with white markings such as underbody, facial stripes, etc.

Alpine Color - Sundgau

PIED – spotted or mottled.

Alpine Color - Pied

CHAMOISEE (sham-wah-zay) – brown or bay characteristic markings are black face, dorsal stripe, feet and legs, and sometimes a martingale running over the withers and down to the chest. Spelling for male is chamoise.

Alpine Color Chamoisee

TWO-TONE CHAMOISEE – light front quarters with brown or gray hindquarters. This is not a cou blanc or cou clair as these terms are reserved for animals with black hindquarters.

Alpine Color Two-Tone Chamoisee

BROKEN- Any variation in the above patterns broken with white should be described as a broken pattern such as a broken cou blanc.

Alpine Color Broken Chamoisee


The French vs. The American Alpine

Amongst new Alpine enthusiasts, the French and American designation is often a confusing one. The French or Purebred Alpine is one who traces back to only the original animals imported from France. American Alpines those animals that have been crossed with other breeds and then bred back up using registered American or French Alpine bucks. A French Alpine (aka Purebred Alpine) can only be achieved by breeding two French Alpines together. The terms French and Purebred are synonymous and can be used interchangeably. However, because American Alpines result from crossbreeding, they cannot be described as “Purebred”. The registration papers of all Alpines will designate if the animal is French or American Alpine. At dairy goat shows, French and American Alpines compete against each other and are shown in the same “Alpine” breed division.


American Goat Society

The French Alpine is sleek, short-haired, and multicolored. It tends to look larger, “rangier,” and more fine boned than the Toggenburg, with more space between the ground and the underline of the body. Although the angularity and width should still be present, they may not be as obvious as in the Toggenburg . The head should be wide between the very alert eyes, but because of its long body, the width may not be as apparent as in other breeds. The “dish” in the bridge of the nose will be less severe than other breeds, sometimes being almost straight. The muzzle may not appear to be as wide as deep, and the ears may be longer than the Toggenburg, although just as alert.


British Goat Society

This goat is black with white Swiss markings and has been developed in the UK. The goat should be rangy with a short fine coat. The overall effect is a most impressive animal when the black coat acquires its summer gloss. The breed can be highly individual in character and tends to be a breed for enthusiasts who like a challenge.

British Alpines generally have long lactations. An average 24 hour yield of 4.09 Kg. at 3.77% butterfat and 2.74% protein was obtained by considering data from all British Alpines entered in B.G.S. recognized milking trials in a recent year (459 performances).


Canadian Goat Society

The Alpine is one of the Swiss breeds, and is acceptable in any color pattern, although bucks with solid white or standard Toggenburg color and markings are faulted. Ears are upright; the bridge of the nose is straight or slightly dished.

Color patterns in the Alpine are often referred to by French names: the illustration shows a cou clair (light-colored neck) broken with a wide white belt. Other color patterns are cou blanc (white neck, black rear quarters), sundgau (black with white facial stripes, white below knees and hocks, white on either side of the tail), and chamoisée (any shade or mixture of brown, often with a black stripe along the back and white markings on the face) or two-tone chamoisée (usually a lighter brown on the forequarters). A “broken” pattern has large white areas obscuring the basic colors.

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