The Truth about the Fainting Goat Breed
The Fainting Goats are a rare breed. They were discovered in Tennessee around 1880. These goats have been studied for medical purposes and it was discovered that they have congenital myotonia which is condition present at birth. This condition makes them appear to faint, however, they don’t really faint. The goats myotonia condition makes their muscles relax slower than normal thus giving them the appearance that they freeze in time and some times they even fall over appearing as if to faint. This is not a painful condition and the goats are fully aware of what’s going on during this time.
The breed is a small breed ranging from 17-25” in height and only weighing up to 170 pounds or less for a full grown buck. The breed is also considered a slow maturing breed. This is not a good trait for a true meat goat but the Fainting goats have been classified as a meat goat. Historical evidence doesn’t reveal what the goats were used for in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It is quite possible they were a multi- purpose goat.
The Fainting goat is a smaller goat that is historically correct. The Fainting goats have shorter ears with an ear set held horizontal and forward. The facial profile is most often straight to concave. They display buggy eyes. They have a stronger myotonia level when compared to the Myotonic breed.
The Myotonic goat is a bigger, meatier goat that unfortunately is no longer historically correct. The Myotonic goats have some totally different characteristics than the Fainting goats do. They are a bigger goat both in height and weight. Their facile profiles are also different. It is straight and sometimes has a hint of a convex nose or Roman nose. Their ears are somewhat longer and not held as forward. The Myotonic goats also appear not to retain as much of a degree of myotonia as the Fainting goats do.
Both breeds are said to have originated from the same original goats. I believe that they did. Both breeds were once a landrace breed. There are some variances in both breeds however many of these variances are man-made. Both breeds had to survive extreme conditions and only the strongest and fittest goats survived. The exact point that they became two different breeds is hard to say.
You can look at the two different breeds today and see the very clear differences between them. The eyes, nose, facial profile, ears, degree of myotonia, and size are very different in the two breeds. These different traits are passed on to their offspring. This is what makes them two different breeds.
Again many breeders don’t like the idea of two different breeds. They do not wish to face these facts but to confirm the facts you can read the older articles written about the Fainting goat breed or you can view pictures of the older goats. There is also a book entitled Past, Prestent and Future of the Fainting Goat that has been written explaining the differences.