Arapawa goat: The rarest goat breeds

The Arapawa goat is native to the Arapawa Island off the coast of New Zealand’s South Island. A breed that’s good-natured, sturdy and alert that have come out of their time around Arapawa Island.

Arapawa goat characteristics

A smaller than typical milking goat.

A horned breed, bucks generally possess sweeping horns, with horns on females considerably briefer and backward-pointing.

It comes in different color patterns of white, black, fawn, black and brown being ordinary and they generally have brightly colored faces.

Does weighing from 60-80 lbs and bucks weighing around 125 lbs.

The Arapawa are inclined to attain sexual maturity at 24-months old and are usually around 30 inches tall, with bucks the bigger.

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Health problems are nearly nonexistent.

Does typically give birth to twins with little to no birthing problems and have excellent mothering skills from the beginning.

A good-natured, watchful and rugged breed, developed throughout their feral period on Arapawa Island.

The Arapawa goat is a dual-purpose breed. It’s raised for both milk and meat production.

Arapawa goat origin

The Arapawa goats are direct descendants of three breeding pairs launched during Captain Cook’s second and third voyages into the Southern Ocean.

In 1827 the goats were detected from the whalers when they came on Arapawa Island. The goats lived undisturbed. Since the goats were genetically isolated during a lengthy span, they adapted to the environment and evolved into an exceptional breed.

From the 1970s they came into the eye of the NZ Forest Service. Discovering the goats were destructive to the woods, regardless of the attempts of Betty Rowe, an eradication program started that continues today under New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC).

Among those rarest goat breeds in the world, that the New Zealand Arapawa Goat is stated by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, seriously near extinction.

Goats out of Betty Rowe’s Sanctuary on Arapawa Island were imported in the USA in 1993 by Plimoth Plantation, a living museum of colonial existence in North America at 1627 situated in southeastern Massachusetts.

As of 2011, there are roughly 150-200 domesticated goats from the USA, which is considered to represent roughly half of the worldwide population.

In 2007 The Livestock Conservancy, through its Technical Advisor Dr. Phil Sponenberg, awakened with the University of Cordoba and many Arapawa goat breeders to do DNA analysis of the strain. The analysis found the Arapawa goats are obviously different from other strains

The New Zealand Arapawa Goat Association (NZAGA) is composed of a bunch of individuals from all over the globe that is enthusiastic about the welfare and survival of the gorgeous, seriously at-risk strain of a little goat. With over 500 recorded they are near extinction.

Brief characteristics of Arapawa sheep

Breed NameArapawa sheep
Other Name 
Country/Place of Origin New Zealand
Breed Purposemeat and milk
Breed Sizesmall
56kg (125 lb)
Ewe(Female)31 kg (70 lb)
Good for Stall Fedopen grazing 
Climate Tolerancelocal conditions

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