Is your goat listed in the PBA herdbook? And do you have the original official registration or pre-registration certificate? Did the seller fill out a Transfer of Ownership form for you? If so, did you or the seller send it to the PBA Registrar with the original certificate? If you answer yes to these questions then your goat is a Pygora®.
The Pygora® goat was initially bred in Oregon by Katherine Jorgensen, and after careful selection, the registry was created. She wanted an animal that would produce fine fiber for hand spinning, so she bred the Pygmy (NPGA registry), a goat with short, soft down to an Angora (AAGBA registry), a goat with long silky fleece. The Pygora Breeders Association was formed in 1987. Since then, the Pygora has increased in number and popularity. Today the registered Pygora goat may not have more than 75% AAGBA registered Angora goat or 75% NPGA registered Pygmy goat heritage.
A Pygora is a fiber goat purposely bred to produce fine fiber for hand spinning. The Pygora goat produces a wonderful, lofty, soft, fiber that does not coarsen as the goat ages. Add in an affectionate, engaging personality, a manageable size, good health and fleece in a range of colors and you have the perfect fiber goat.
Pygoras were developed by Katharine Jorgensen in Oregon. The Pygora Breeders Association (PBA) was formed in 1987 and maintains the registry herd book. All Pygoras come from registered parents and can trace their lineage back to two specific parent breeds: American Angora Goat Breeders Association (AAGBA)-registered goats and National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA)- registered goats.
The only goat that may bear the name ‘Pygora’ is a goat registered with the PBA. In addition, all Pygora goats must conform to the Pygora Breed Standard, which includes conformation, color/patterns and fleece characteristics.
Do the parent animals have to be registered to make a Pygora? Yes, in order to register kids with the PBA, both parents must be registered Pygoras. Parents of first-generation goats must be registered with the National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA) and the American Angora goat Breeders Association (AAGBA). No other registrations are accepted. In order to register kids from Pygora parents, both parents must be registered with PBA.
Does it matter which breed, Pygmy or Angora, is used as the doe? No, either way a Pygora is the result. However, if a Pygmy doe is chosen, consideration must be given to her size to insure a trouble-free delivery. Kidding problems are infrequent, and the kids are very vigorous and usually up and nursing within 15 minutes.
What size are the kids and adults? Pygora kids weigh about 5 lb. at birth. Adult does (female Pygoras) average 80-120 lb. and must be at least 18 in. tall. Adult bucks (male Pygoras) and wethers (neutered males) average 75-140 lb. and must be at least 23 in. tall. There is no maximum height restriction.
Must Pygoras be 50% Angora and 50% Pygmy? No, a Pygora may contain up to, but not more than, 75% of one of the parent breeds.
Is the first-generation cross registerable as a Pygora? Technically the first generation, or “F1”, is not a true Pygora, but a crossbreed. A crossbreed is not a breed until it breeds true. The PBA does register first-generation goats as F1s. They may be shown only in F1 classes and are not eligible for championships.
Is registration automatic for kids of registered animals? No, to be permanently registered, a Pygora must have fleece. Preregistration is issued to a goat under 8 months of age. For permanent registration, a fleece sample and picture of the goat in fleece must be submitted with the application.
What colors are Pygoras? Pygoras come in a wide range of colors: white, black, greys, caramels and browns. They often show two different colors throughout the year: a lighter, in-fleece color and a darker, out-of-fleece color. They may have a dark dorsal stripe, socks, crowns, ‘frosting’ on ears and noses, or facial masks. For details on recognized colors and patterns, please see the Pygora Breed Standard on the PBA website. The PBA accepts all Pygmy colors and their dilutions, as well as white. Color markings resembling other breeds are not acceptable.
What is the personality of the Pygora? Pygoras are friendly, playful, curious goats. They have the curiosity of a cat and experience their world like a 2-year-old human; everything new must be tasted! They like to spend time with their people. It is important to note that, like any animal, a Pygora must be handled properly with love and respect for it to be a trusting, happy, sociable goat.
Do Pygoras require any special care? Pygoras tend to be very healthy goats as long as they receive proper care, including appropriate feed, such as good-quality hay and/or pasture and browse, access to free-choice goat minerals and clean, fresh water (consult with your veterinarian on nutritional requirements for your area and to develop a balanced ration for your Pygoras). Pygoras also need regular hoof trims and vaccinations and should be dewormed as needed. They breed and kid easily, and are naturally good mothers. To ensure a healthy goat, find a good goat veterinarian and establish a relationship with them before you need them.
Do Pygoras have horns? Yes, Pygoras are naturally horned. The PBA allows goats to be shown with or without horns. The majority of PBA members disbud their animals at a young age for their own convenience (keeps animals from getting hung up in field fence, for example), or to provide a safer animal for 4-H projects. Whether or not to disbud is a personal preference and decision.
Can a person own just one Pygora? Yes, but it is not recommended. Goats are herd animals and need company, preferably another goat. A single goat tends to be lonely, noisy and not much fun for themselves or their owners.
Do Pygora bucks smell? Yes, all bucks smell, especially during the breeding season. A Pygora buck smells stronger than an Angora buck, but less than a Pygmy buck. When breeding season is over, Pygora bucks have very little scent.
When is breeding season? Spring and fall – length of daylight is the major trigger for does to come into season. Being close to a buck also helps cause does to cycle. Each spring and fall, bucks start spraying themselves, putting on the cologne “guaranteed to get that special doe”. The average cycle for does is 18-23 days.
What is the gestation of Pygoras? Pygoras have a gestation of 5 months, or 145-153 days.
How many times a year can you breed Pygora goats? It is possible to get three kiddings in two years. This is hard on the doe, and should not be done often. Extra feed and care is a necessity for these does.
Can you milk Pygoras? Yes, Pygoras give about 1 quart of milk a day.
Do all Pygoras have the same fleece type? No – there are three different fleece types. No one type is “better” than the other is; they just have different characteristics. For details on the fleece types, please see Pygora Fiber Types.
Do you have to harvest the fleece? Yes and no – If the fleece on a Pygora goat is not harvested, it will mat on the goat. Type-B and -C goats will shed (blow) their fleeces in the spring if the fiber is not removed. The partially-shed fleece can make a goat more susceptible to external parasites. Also, once a fleece is blown, it is no longer usable.
When do you shear? Pygoras usually are sheared in the fall and spring, depending on the fleece and the weather. Check your Pygoras often, particularly the hindlegs and thighs, for signs that the fleece wants to mat. That is the time to shear if the weather allows.
Supplying freshly-shorn goats with coats, adequate bedding and shelter is critical. Many breeders shear before their does kid in late winter/early spring.
How do you harvest if you choose to comb or pluck? Brush and/or blow out the goat’s fleece before harvesting to remove as much hay, seeds and debris as possible. Pygoras may be shorn using household scissors such as Fiskars (spring-loaded work well) or electric shears/clippers with an appropriate comb. Cleanliness and the absence of second cuts are important. Having a goat stand to hold the goat during shearing is very helpful.
To pluck or comb a fleece, check your goats in late winter/early spring to determine when they first start shedding their fleece. Use a plastic hairbrush, pet grooming brush or cotton hand card to comb out the fleece. To hand pluck, gently pull the fleece from the goat; it should come off easily! Goats generally do not shed all at once so should be combed or plucked every few days. Experiment to see what works best.
How much fleece is produced by a Pygora? The amount of fleece a Pygora can produce depends on fleece type (type-C produces the least amount and type- A the greatest amount). Type As may produce as much as 3 lb. of raw fleece per shearing while type Cs may produce only 8 oz. of raw fiber. Type Bs average 1 lb. per shearing.
A raw fleece includes both desirable fiber and guard hairs. The guard hairs must be removed (this is called dehairing). The amount of guard hair removed from raw fiber by commercial dehairing can be as much as 40%. The better the ‘separation’ (or difference in fineness) between desirable fiber and guard hairs, the easier a fleece is to dehair and the better the final product. One thing to consider when buying a type-B or type-C Pygora is to select goats who have good separation based on a fiber test.
How do you prepare the fleece for spinning? There are several steps to preparing Pygora fleece for spinning: washing, dehairing and combing/carding. For details, please see Fiber Preparation or the downloadable brochure, Fleece Facts.
What is the spun fleece like? When spinning Pygora, you can spin it soft and fuzzy for a fluffy item such as a hat or mittens, or spin it more firmly for good stitch definition and a stronger wearing yarn. When spun worsted, type-A fleeces produce a wonderful smooth yarn with a silky luster. Type-B fleeces usually are finer than type-A fleeces and can be spun into a lustrous, soft, worsted yarn or spun woolen and fulled (slapped against a hard surface to bring out the fluff) for a soft, warm yarn with a halo. Type-C fiber, the finest of the three types, is perfect for spinning into a fine, delicate, soft lace yarn.
Goats are out-of-fleece until about 3 weeks old, or after being shorn. Their color pattern can be best seen at this time.
All have light vertical stripes on front side of darker stockings. Muzzle, forehead, eyes and ears are accented in tones lighter than the dark portions of the body.
Light Caramel: White or caramel hairs, intermingled with white in the coat making the coat appear to be a shade of pure white to cream.
Medium Caramel: Caramel and white hairs intermingled in the coat making the coat appear to be a shade of apricot to orange.
Dark Caramel: White hairs intermingled with darker caramel/buff or brown hairs in the coat making the coat appear to be a shade close to a grocery shopping bag.
Brown Caramel: Brown mainly with only occasional intermingled white hairs in the coat making the coat a pronounced darker brown.
All agouti’s have solid stockings darker than the main body color. Muzzle, forehead, eyes and ears accented in tones lighter than the dark portions of the body.
Light Brown Agouti: Light/Silver grey hairs intermingled with white with brownish tips on main body hairs, making the coat a burnt silver/pewter shade.
Medium Brown Agouti: Brown and white hairs intermingled in equal amounts giving the coat a browner salt and pepper appearance.
Dark Brown Agouti: Brown hairs intermingled with fewer white hairs, but still a salt and pepper appearance that is a pronounced darker brown.
Brown Agouti: Brown mainly with only occasional intermingled white hairs.
Light Grey Agouti: Black and white hairs intermingled with slightly more white hairs to give a light grey color making the coat appear to be silver/pewter in shade.
Medium Grey Agouti: Black and white hairs intermingled in equal amounts giving the coat a blacker appearance close to an equal amount of salt and pepper.
Dark Grey Agouti: Darker grey appearance fewer white hairs, but still a salt and pepper appearance that is pronounced.
Black Agouti: Black mainly with only occasional intermingled white hairs
All blacks have solid black stockings
Black: Solid black except for muzzle, forehead, eyes and ears accented in tones lighter than the dark portion of the body.
Solid Black: All black with no white seen anywhere.
All white have no other color anywhere.
Examples of Random Markings
(Socks, bellybands, spots, saddles, etc.)
Medium Grey Agouti
On the application for registration the fleece color itself is noted.
Introduction — The Pygora®, a fleece producing goat, was originally created by crossing a registered American Angora Goat Breeders Association (AAGBA) goat with a registered National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA) goat. This first cross is considered a first generation (F1) cross and is so marked as an F1 on it’s registration papers. The second generation is considered the true Pygora. The Pygora can be bred to other Pygoras or back to an NPGA or AAGBA animal but the ratio is not to exceed 75% of either parent breed (pygmy or angora). All Pygora goats must have fleece as described in the Breed Standard of PBA.
The Pygora® is a fleece producing goat that was first bred in Oregon by Katharine Jorgensen in 1980. How did she come to breed these cute, fuzzy, hardy little goats?
Katharine was a National Pygmy Goat Association (NPGA) pygmy breeder and a 4-H Pygmy goat judge who loved fiber, and she enjoyed spinning, knitting and weaving. She was inspired by the look of some colored, curly goats she saw on a Navajo Indian Reservation and decided she wanted to make colored mohair. “I thought: ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a goat that produced mohair the color of the blue-gray grizzle of pygmy goats?’ I wanted to try and create a mohair-type goat and the traits that were best from both breeds.” (Precious Fibers Magazine, Jan. 1986, p.14-15).
The colored, cashmere-like, undercoat of Katharine’s pygmies was too short to use, so she bred her NPGA pygmy does to an American Angora Goat Breeders’ Association (AAGBA ) buck. She expected to get kids with long, colored mohair, but what she got were white, fluffy kids whose fleece wasn’t true mohair or true cashmere. It had properties of both types.
After a couple of generations, she started getting color. By the early 1980s, five years of line breeding an AAGBA doe to an unrelated Pygora® buck finally resulted in the beautiful grey-grizzled goat Katharine dreamed of. The potential for champagne and honey browns also was present because of the pygmy’s color genetics. By 1986, fleeces were often 5 inches long, had nice crimp and appeared in pure white, silver and gray.
Katharine also noticed three distinct fiber types: a type-A goat that produced fiber similar to kid mohair, a type-B goat that produced fiber with characteristics of both mohair and cashmere, and a type-C goat that produced a cashmere-like fiber. Katharine was quite proud that a commercial cashmere processing company was happy to buy her C fleeces as cashmere. She also noticed that Pygoras kept the fineness of their fleece even into their teens.
Her enthusiasm for her new creation was contagious, and everyone who bred for the cross noticed that the goats bred true. Katharine knew she had established a new breed of fiber goat and it needed a name. She considered calling them “Homestead Goats”, because they were large enough to produce fleece, meat, milk and pelts. In the end she decided to combine the name of the two parent breeds and invented the word Pygora.
In 1987, the Pygora Breeders Association (PBA) was started with 10 members. In order to track genealogy and breed for consistent traits, Katharine started a registry and a newsletter. In 1990, when she felt she had seen enough Pygoras, Katharine established a committee to write breed standards and by-laws for the PBA. The first committee members were Dr. Kay Orlando, a veterinarian, Sonia Hall, Marilyn Moore and Chris Utterback.
Right from the start, Katharine knew how important the breed standards were. She wanted to emphasize good conformation, hardiness and natural kidding. She also wanted to make sure people didn’t turn this useful animal that produced lots of fiber each year into a pure pet that was too small to kid on its own and only produced small amounts of fiber. She insisted on a minimum height requirement and no maximum height. Her view was “more is better”.
To keep breed purity, Katharine insisted on allowing only goats from the American Angora Goat Breeder’s Association and the National Pygmy Goat Association into the Pygora herdbook. Since AAGBA goats must be white, Pygora colors were limited to white and those found in the pygmy. Soon after the breed standards were completed, a Judge’s Training Manual and test were created by Katharine, Mary Jane Ontiveros and Chris Utterback. Then the first PBA sanctioned judges were licensed. Since then the manual has been reviewed twice and updated once. The reviews were conducted by Jackie Liner, Jill Gallagher, Fran Bishop, Lisa Roskopf, Lisa Zietz and Chris Utterback.
Katharine is a very interesting and knowledgeable person. She worked as a teacher and librarian when not out tending goats. She also is a wonderful artist. She moved her farm, Misty Meadows, to the dry climate of New Mexico where she lives with her husband, Jerry, a few Pygoras and a llama.
Since the beginning, the PBA has had many dedicated volunteers who work behind the scenes, donating time and money to get the word out about Pygoras. Currently we have many very active committees, and there is room for you.
Katharine Jorgensen October 18th, 1941 – November 5, 2018
Katharine Jorgensen, creator of the Pygora goat, passed away at home on November 5th, 2018. She was 77.
Katharine was born in Pittsburgh, PA on October 18th, 1941. Less than two months later her dad was called up to serve in the U.S. Army. Being an “Army brat”, Katharine lived all over the world in her childhood. Stops along the way included Munich, Germany, New Jersey, Okinawa, Georgia, Illinois, and finally Carmel Valley, CA, which is near the Fort Ord Army base. She earned a Bachelors degree in Fine Art at San Francisco State, and later a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of New Mexico.
She has one son, Benjamin, age 51, from her first marriage to Bruce Lowney. She also has a grandson, Alexander, age 11. In 1971 she got together with (and married in 1977) Jerry Jorgensen, and they stayed together for life. She taught both children and future teachers at the college level, in both New Mexico and Oregon. She also worked as a librarian for many years, and was an accomplished watercolor artist and ceramicist.
However, I believe her most important accomplishment was cross-breeding Angora and Pygmy goats to create the Pygora goat that you all enjoy. Katharine’s first goat was an orphaned Angora goat that she bottle fed. She had to leave this goat behind when we moved to Oregon in 1976, but she was soon raising and showing pygmy goats. She began breeding what became Pygoras in the 1980’s, consulting with a geneticist about how to breed for desired characteristics. When what are now known as the B and C type Pygoras emerged from crossing Pygora to Pygora, she was a little surprised and a lot pleased with the results. With Chris Utterback’s help, who was also an early Pygora breeder, they founded the Pygora Breeders Association, and the rest is history.
She was glad to see other people taking up the job of perpetuating Pygora goats and PBA, and seeing these wonderful animals spread throughout the country. Thank you so much to all of you for raising more of these useful pets and practical farm animals.