United Kingdom & Europe

Roman Noses and Ennoblement

Roman Noses and Ennoblement

I have had a few inquiries lately regarding the rounded nose structure of the modern day, ennobled Boer Goat.

That beautiful sweep from the bottom of the muzzle right through to the tip of the horns is, to me, indescribably lovely and is the essence of the Boer Goat as opposed to ‘other meat goats’.

This can so easily be taken (and is with newer breeders) as a potential danger, or a trait with too much emphasis placed upon it. The fear is that it will result in undershot mouths.

Well, of course it can, just as the narrowness of chest or hindquarter could be bred in the wrong direction, or overdone.  What about a tubular (cylindrical) body, dippy back, or bad legs – same thing applies.  It is fatal to breed haphazardly and blindly.  ANY breeding decision requires knowledge, judgement and finesse.  

Please DON’T fear or blame the recommended trait or the animal.  The Roman nose was not a figment of anyone’s imagination – it was derived from advanced breeding techniques and input.

I was obviously not involved in those early days when the ultra efficient Boer farmers conceived and developed the wonderful Boer goat breed, but I believe their methodology was admirable.   As we can all clearly see, it was a Master plan and it WORKED.  

My thoughts are that the Roman nose and the long ears came from the infusion of the milking breeds to ensure the ability to produce adequate milk with which to nurture the multiple births for which they were also selected.  Let’s look, once again at ‘the BALANCE’.  No point whatsoever in infusing and locking in one trait/feature/attribute, without following through to the ramifications of that decision.

If we break the Boer goat structure down into small pieces, just dwell on how immaculately each piece fits into the equation.   

In rough terms (and dealing only at this point with the female of the species) :


  • Head and ears, related to milk production
  • Long neck and regality, related to femininity
  • This in turn, related to productivity
  • Long body, related to more capacity for carrying offspring and for meat production
  • Structurally sound legs, related to mobility and browsing (nutrition)
  • Smooth coat, related to heat tolerance and ease of management
  • Cashmere in winter months, related obviously to endurance of cold conditions
  • Horns, related to defence against predators

What a perfect package.  

Perhaps you will note that I have not mentioned teats or teat structure.  This will be my next ‘Feature’ article.

I would be very happy to receive any comments, constructive suggestions, or disagreements.

Celia Burnett-Smith

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *