I love dairy goats. Several years ago I ran a herd of Sanaans and milked them to make farmstead cheeses. There is nothing more satisfying.
After an extensive study tour in France around many of the goat farms and fromageries the Sanaan was used almost exclusively.
Also with my herd I had several Toggenburgs, some British Alpines and a few Anglo Nubians.
There are six types of goat that are recognized by the American Dairy-Goat Association. Within Australia the first 4 are the main breeds. They are Saanens, Nubians, Togenburgs, Alpines, LaManchas and Oberhaslis
Saanens are those familiar all white breed goats. They usually have a very large udder capacity and when bred for milk performance can produce large quantities each day. They have a great temperament and are easy to handle and given they produce great milk volumes are most economical to use. People who produce goat milk invariably use only Saanen goats.
The Nubians (Also known as Anglo Nubians) have those characteristic long and floppy ears and some rather interesting coloring. They also have that rather impressive convex nose and are one of the larger goat breeds. Their milk has a higher protein level and much higher butter fat than all the other breeds, which is ideal for cheesemaking. They are reputed to be more stubborn than other goat breeds although I find them more highly strung. I used to have half a dozen of these to help raise overall butter fat content for cheese making.
Toggenburgs also have their own specific color markings. They are light brown and have white ears and lower legs. The side of the tail and two stripes down the face are also white. They are also fairly popular with dairies and have good milking abilities with average butter fat content.
Alpines (also known as British Alpines in some countries) come in a large color range and are light to dark brown with white markings. They also are popular with dairies as they are good milkers with higher butterfat levels
LaManchas have those small almost none existent ears. They have a characteristic straight nose and are a fairly small breed. Their disposition is calm and quite gentle.
Oberhaslis have a characteristic bay color, known as Chamoise, along with a black dorsal strip, black udder and belly, and are also black below the knees. To meet breed standards they will also have a nearly all black head.
All about dairy goats and dairy goat breeds