Fainting Goat Facts

    Information about the breed

Historical Documentation & Articles About the Breed

Not much has been published over the years about the Fainting Goat breed. I will be sharing some of the information that I have in order to help breeders understand the breed better. Much of it comes from old articles. Some of it is from other sources. Read the articles and follow the links and I think you will be surprised about what you find out. Much of it has remained unseen or talked about because it differs from some breeders beliefs. One thing for sure is that you can't hide the facts!  Please continue to check back with us from time to time. You may also wish to read the book Past Present and Future of the Breed. It has much more information about the breed than can be included on this website. It contains many interviews with some of the long established breeders as well. The book can be found at Amazon and some other places.

The Journal of Heredity June 1930

The Journal of Heredity June 1930  gives us a few clear pictures of what the breed should look like. Yes these are old pictures but you can get the point. All pictures back then were in black and white so it is easy to see how some breeders believe that black and white were the original colors for the breed. This fact has not been proven and in fact many old breeders say they came in all different colors and patterns. You can see in this picture that they are not a big breed of goats. You can also see that for their size they do have more muscling than other goats of their size. Today the herd management techniques have improved greatly and the goats today look even better. With this being said be sure to note that they will never be as big and muscular as the  Boer, TexMaster, or Kiko goats. That is not what they are. Also note that there are different levels of Faint-Ability. One is taking a nose dive while the other is only locked-up.  You can also see from the pictures

Providence County Times December 20,1929

Sensitive Breed of Goats

The following is another article that you can view by clicking on the link below.



This article was written by R.J. Goode. The terms Fainting, nervous and Stiff-legged are used to describe this breed. They talk about the goats being unable to jump. Makes you wonder why some so-called Fainting Goats can jump. A true Fainting goat shouldn't be able to jump. I have seen goats that are Myotonic goats jump and run and never stiffen making them harder to contain and to catch. One reason the Fainting goats became so popular was their ease of containment! These "so called" animals can't be true Fainting Goats. The article refers to them fainting and says "this strange phenomenon is seen in ALL of their offspring in the pure-breed goats without exception! So a Fainting goat WILL Faint if it is pure and has not been breed away from the Fainting goat standard that was set so long ago. Some breeders have tried to deny this fact and state that there are different levels. I do believe that there are different levels; however, ALL levels should either, faint or at least stiffen if they are true Fainting goat. One registry for the Myotonic goats believes that if they show other characteristics without any sign of Faint-Ability; it is acceptable. That is fine for Myotonic goats but NOT for Fainting goats.


Fainting Goats according to Wikipedia

"Slightly smaller than standard breeds of the goat, fainting goats are generally 43 to 64 cm (17 to 25 in) tall and can weigh anywhere from 27 to 79 kg (60 to 174 lb). Males, or bucks, as they are often referred to can be as heavy as 200 pounds.[1] They have large, prominent eyes in high sockets. Their hair can be short or long, with certain individuals producing a great deal of cashmere during colder months. There appears to be no angora strain of the fainting goat. Common coat colors are black and white; however, most possible coat colors are found in this breed ".


This is some of the documentation that shows them to be 17-25" in height; however, today many are claiming they are bigger. Some now have bred them to the point of being over 30". This is not original according to the old documention. This is what we call breeding away from the standard! Note:This is selective breeding to accomplish what the breeder wants. It is NOT maintaining the standard!  

American Livestock Conservancy

American Livestock Conservancy

They state that "During the 1950s, some Tennessee Fainting goats were taken to the hill country of central Texas. They were further selected for meat qualities, including larger size, and came to be known as "Wooden Leg" goats emphasizing the meat qualities of the animals and selecting for growth rate, conformation, and reproductive efficiency."



This is where the change started and it continues  today as more breeders breed for bigger meatier goats. This is what selective breeding can do when breeders breed away from the standard.

Another thing that is surprising to me is that so many people state they want to preserve the breed, however, they are not members of the ALC? Just found this kinda odd. 

Goat And Sheep Medicine By David G. Pugh D.V.M.


" Myotonia Congenita is a heritable condition of goats in which the animal experiences tetanic muscle contractions when startled. Occasionally the contraction is severe enough that the goat collapses to the ground. This phenomenon has led to affected animals being referred to as Fainting Goats".

This medical book was written in 2002 and if you notice they refer to the goats again as Fainting goats with a condition known as Myotonia. This is a great reference book that is easy to understand.  

This book can be found on Amazon and many other places.

The Democratic Reporter Feb 1, 1945

 In 1945 a letter was written from Dr. H.H. Mayberry to Mr. Goode. The letter talks about the Dr. purchasing his Fainting goats from Tinsley. He states he purchased 3 nanny goats and 1 billy. The letter is later republished by the Late Joel D. Jones in November of 2007.


Waycross Journal-Herald April 1, 1935

In this article William tells about his talk with R.J. Goode. Goode was at the time the Commissioner of Alabama's Agriculture. He tells us that a sudden appearance or a loud noise will cause the goats to faint! William reveals about 150 goats were known in the Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky areas during this time. He also remarks that there is one small herd in Germany.

Once again a Fainting goat should Faint!!. That is made very plain in almost every article that I read!


The Boham Daily Favorites Feb 14,1965    By Aubrey McAlister

The following article is about Nervous goats at a children's summer camp. The camp was called Camp Conestoga. The Blufords owned and operated the camp. The article only refers to the goats as Nervous goats. Again the name is not Myotonics. There were NEVER called Myotonics until recently.  


Kentucky Era Dec 13, 1974


Bonnie Lackey recalls the Fainting Goats. She states that she remembers seeing them at the Altsheler farm many times but the dates are not clear. She states that they were allegedly afflicted with a rare malady akin to myotonia in humans that causes them to freeze when surprised or frightened. She stated that it only last a few seconds, but Joe Altsheler could just pop out and say boo and they would faint! Comment: A true Fainting goat once again we see will faint.

Joe Altsheler also remembers the goats. He refers to them as Nervous goats. He states that around 1940 he shipped them from Tennessee. He remembers 4 white nannies. He talks about owning other goats too and these Nervous goats were sometimes crossbred. Sometimes the kids fainted and sometimes they did no when they were crossed. The same is true today; a crossbred may have some faint-ability and in the past because of this they were registered. It takes MORE than the faint-ability to make a goat a true Fainting goat!


Segen's Medical Dictionary

Segen's Medical Dictionary

Fainting Goats

A breed of domestic goats which carries the gene for myotonia congenita which causes its muscles to stiffen for 5–10 seconds when startled, which often causes them to fall over (’faint’); they are otherwise completely normal.

Segen's Medical Dictionary

Comment:This medical resource again only refers to the breed as Fainting Goats with a condition called myotonia congenita.