Goat Nomenclature – What Are the Terminologies?

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The goat has domesticated 11,000 years ago in the area that is today’s western Iran. The goat is one of the oldest domesticated species of animals and a member of the Bovidae family. Whether you plan to keep goats as pets or raise them for milk, meat, or fiber production, it’s good to know a little bit more about goat nomenclature. 

Nomenclature is a system of names used in a particular scientific field. According to this system, the domestic goat’s scientific name is Capra hircus. The goat belongs to the genus Capra, subfamily Caprinae, and family Bovidae. The family Bovidae also includes antelopes, cattle, sheep, and bovids. 

Read on to discover how goats are named and how they are classified. This article will explain what male, female, and baby goats are called and what livestock terminology is used when talking about goats.

What Are Male Goats Called?

Intact male goats are usually called bucks. However, some people prefer calling male goats billies. 

Keep in mind only adult male goats are called bucks or billies. Male goats up to 12 months of age are called bucklings. 

Castrated male goats are called wethers. Male goats (bucks) that aren’t meant to become future herd sires are castrated (neutered), so they are no longer fertile and able to sire kids (baby goats). 

Castrating bucks prevents them from becoming aggressive toward other males and humans. Wethers also lose the strong odor associated with male goats during the breeding season.

What Are Female Goats Called?

Female goats are called does or nannies. Young female goats are called doelings until they reach one year old. After that time, a female goat is referred to as a doe or a nanny. 

A young female goat or a doeling will typically reach sexual maturity at six or nine months of age. The age when a female goat will reach puberty depends on several environmental factors, including the season of birth, nutritional status, and breed. 

In temperate regions, a spring-born doe will reach sexual maturity at a younger age. Though some may reach puberty as early as three months old, breeding should be postponed until the doe hasn’t come to at least 60% of its mature weight. 

What Are Baby Goats Called?

Baby goats of both sexes are called kids. A group of kids is called a tribe or a herd of kids. 

Baby goats are born fully developed, and a newborn kid can typically walk right away or a few minutes after the birth. 

Depending on the breed, baby goats weigh from four to 12 pounds at birth. By two months, baby goats (kids) weigh from 30 to 50 pounds. Baby goats are often slaughtered for meat when they are three to five months of age.

Their meat doesn’t have much fat but is lighter in color and more tender than the meat of older goats. The meat of male goats is typically lighter in color and has less fat, while the meat of female goats is more tender and better for steaks and chops.

What Is the Scientific Name of a Goat?

The scientific name of the goat is Capra hircus. Take a look at the taxonomy and scientific classification of the goat:

Infrakingdom Deuterostomia
Subfamily Caprinae
Genus Capra
Species Capra hircus

The goat is a multicellular heterotroph with actual tissues and belongs to the kingdom Animalia. This species is classified as Chordata for several reasons. Goats have bilateral symmetry, a segmented body, an endoskeleton, and a complete digestive system. 

The goat is classified as a Vertebrate because it has a vertebral column or a backbone. Goats belong to the class Mammalia because their bodies are covered in hair, possess glands, and are able to self-regulate their body temperature. 

As a member of the order Artiodactyla, goats possess an even number of toes, and the symmetry of its hooves falls between the third and fourth toes.

Goats belong to the Bovidae family because they possess horns on the frontal portion of the skull and have hooves. 

In Latin, the name Capra means she-goat or nanny-goat. All members of the Capra genus are different species of goats and ibexes. 

The main characteristics of this genus are long pointed ears, calloused knees, and flat upward-turning tails. 

How Goats Are Named?

An intact male goat is called a buck or a billy, and a female goat is called a doe or a nanny. Castrated male goats are called wethers. 

Baby goats of both sexes are called kids. Until they reach one year of age, female goats are sometimes called doelings, and young bucks are called bucklings. 

What Is the Binomial Nomenclature of a Goat?

The binomial nomenclature of a goat is Capra hircus. In Latin, Capra means she-goat, and Hircus means he-goat. 

What Are the Terminologies Used in a Goat?

Whether you kept goats before or just started raising them, you’re bound to come across some terms you haven’t heard before. Goat terminology is important to know and understand, especially when starting with goats.

Here is some general goat terminology:

  • Caprine – refers to animals in the goat family
  • Wether – a castrated male goat
  • Kid – a baby goat
  • Doe – an adult female goat
  • Buck – a mature male goat
  • Breed – a stock of animals within a species with a distinctive appearance
  • Herd – a grouping of goats 
  • Livestock – domestic goats kept for productive purposes (meat, milk, fiber)


The goat (Capra hircus) is a domestic animal and a member of the Bovidae family. Domestic goats belong to the tribe Caprini and are closely related to sheep. 

Many different terms are used for goats. Intact, mature male goats are called bucks or billies, and adult female goats are called does or nannies.

Baby goats of any sex are called kids, but young bucks are sometimes also called bucklings, while young does are referred to as doelings.

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