Difference Between a Goat and a Ram

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Goats and rams are commonly kept on homesteads for their meat, milk, and fiber. Often confused by city dwellers as being the same, a goat and a ram are two entirely different animals. 

So, what is the difference between a goat and a ram? Goats and rams are two different species. A ram is a male sheep and belongs to the genus Ovis. A goat is closely related to sheep but is a different species belonging to the genus Capra. Rams also have thick, wooly coats and long, curvy horns, while goats have thin coats and narrow, pointed horns. 

Curious to discover all differences between a ram and a goat – read on! This article will explain what a ram and a goat are and share the biggest differences between these two species. 

What Is a Goat?

The goat (Capra hircus) is a domestic animal commonly kept as livestock. Goats belong to the animal family Bovidae, tribe Caprini and are closely related to sheep.

There are more than 300 different species of goats, and they are kept in most parts of the world for their milk, meat, skins, and fur. 

Female goats are called does or nannies. Intact male goats are known as bucks or billies, but castrated males are called wethers. Juvenile goats of both sexes are called kids until they reach one year of age.

What Is a Ram?

Sheep (Ovis aries) are domesticated, ruminant animals typically kept as livestock. Sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, tribe Caprini, and genus Ovis.

One of the earliest animals to be domesticated, sheep are mainly kept for fleece, meat, and milk. Sheep’s wool is the most commonly used animal fiber and is obtained by shearing.

An adult female sheep is called a ewe. An intact male sheep is called a ram, and a castrated male sheep is known as a wither. Young sheep are called lambs. 

Are a Goat and a Ram the Same Animal?

A ram and a goat aren’t the same animals. A ram is a male sheep and a member of the genus Ovis. 

The goat is closely related to the sheep but is an entirely different domestic animal species and belongs to the genus Capra. 

Difference Between a Goat and a Ram

The most notable difference between a goat and a ram is that they are different domestic animals. If you ever come across sheep and goats on a farm, this is how to tell them apart:


One of the first things you’ll spot when looking at a goat and a ram is the difference in their horns. The ram has long horns that curve backward from the head and can weigh up to 30 lbs.

Rams usually use their horns during the breeding season to deliver a powerful headbutt to other competing males or as a show of strength to any perceived threat. 

On the other hand, goats have much smaller horns. A goat’s horns tend to grow upwards and are much narrower and pointed, while a ram has curved and thick horns. 

Goat horns are also smooth to the touch, while ram horns have distinct ridges that make them look bumpy.


Tail is another difference between a goat and a ram. Goats have shorter, fewer fury tails that point upwards, while ram tails are woolier and point downwards. 

Rams and ewes (male and female sheep) are born with long tails, but tail docking is routinely performed to improve hygiene and reduce the occurrence of flystrike. Docking a sheep’s tail prevents health complications caused by parasites and bacteria found in feces on an animal’s coat. 


Both male and female sheep have long been raised for their wooly fur. Rams and ewes have a thick, curly, double-layered coat that consists of an outer layer and an undercoat that keeps the sheep warm in cooler temperatures.

Unlike sheep, goats have short and thin single-layer coats. This makes goats look much smaller than sheep, who look bulky thanks to all that fur.

 Foraging Habits

Sheep and goats are ruminant mammals and herbivores, but their foraging habits are entirely different. 

Goats are browsers and are attracted to nutritious plants. They have no issues climbing on rocks or logs and even standing on their hind legs to reach the leaves on high trees or shrubs.

On the other hand, sheep are called grazers because they prefer to graze close to the surface of the soil. Rams and ewes feed on grass, clover, and legumes more than anything else and will stay on the same pasture until there is grass to graze.


Goats and sheep also differ in personality. While goats are curious and inquisitive, sheep tend to be timid and more likely to stick close to their herd.

Goats are social animals that love to live in a flock. But unlike sheep, goats won’t get agitated if they are separated from their herd. This trait makes goats harder to keep enclosed than sheep.

Is a Ram Considered a Goat?

A ram isn’t a goat. Male sheep are called rams, while male goats are called bucks or billies. Rams and goats are different species of animal but are closely related.

Is a Ram a Sheep or a Goat?

A ram is a male sheep. Rams are easily recognizable because of their long, bumpy, and rounded horns that curve backward away from the head. 

Male sheep are also bigger, heavily built, and weigh 260 to 280 pounds though they can grow over 300 pounds. 


There are many differences between a goat and a ram. Goats are small-sized livestock commonly kept for their milk, meat, skins, and fur. A female goat is called a doe, a male goat is a buck, and baby goats are called kids.

A ram is a male sheep and a different animal species than a goat. Rams are larger than goats, have thicker, wooly coats and large, curved horns, and are primarily raised for their fur and meat.  

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