Damascus goat is the native breed of Syria (Al-Atiyat & Aljumaah, 2014) and other Middle East countries. As indicated by the name, this goat was supposed to be originated around Damascus, Syria (Zarkawi et al., 1999). After that, they are introduced to other countries like Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon, Jordan, Algeria and Iraq. However, the name Damascus was given to them in Cyprus where they were brought by the British. It is mainly raised in Cyprus, Lebanon and Syria. It is also known by the name of Shami, Baladi, Halep, Allepo, Damascene or Chami. It is also known to be the ancestor of some Indian and Turkish dairy goat breed (Güney et al., 2006). This is a multipurpose goat raised for Milk, meat and hide.
Due to its hardy nature, it can produce milk in changing environmental conditions and milk is rich in fat and protein which has made it popular throughout the Middle East. The name Damascus was also stated in many classics of Arabic literature. It was a noble breed that was also used to develop a new breed. There was a strange twist in appearance where the goat changes from the cutest one to what it has been called the ‘The Monoster’goat. Some often tag them as the bulldog of goats due to their appearance. Since the Damascus goat is typically different in appearance from other goat breeds, it can be easily identified and is gaining popularity throughout the world. This goat has interesting features. Let’s have look at them.
With jaws that are similarly structured like that of a bulldog, the Damascus goat isn’t exactly the prettiest animal in the world. They are adorable when they are small, but as their jaws grow, and with the snub nose, they don’t grow up to be gorgeous animals. Think of the saying, “a face only a mother could love” and you have the Damascus goat. But, those who love them really love them, and they see the inner beauty of the bred. Generally, these goats are reddish brown in color, but there are many variations, including white, fawn, grey, and pied. These color variations can be found in both sexes. Damascus goats tend to weigh between 130 and 200 pounds, with the males being larger. An adult male will stand approximately 80cm at its withers. They have medium to longish hair, and it is very soft.
You might have noticed that these goats have very odd looking ears. Their ears are extremely long, and they tend to droop. Males and females have ears of the same length and style. The ears are often cropped for goats that are in shows. Damascus goats have horns that are long and thick, and they curve backwards. The male has horns that are a bit longer than the female, but the shape is pretty much the same. These goats tend to reach maturity between 3 and 10 months.
This is a dairy goat breed. So, most probably they are raised for milk production in countries like Syria and Lebnan. However, they have many-fold uses. In some countries, they are also raised for meat and leather. With the growing popularity, they are often used in breeding to produce crossbred. Quick growth, higher twining percentage and adaptability to varied climatic conditions are the reasons for which the Damascus goat are used in crossbred with the other breeds of goats. Like in India, they are used for crossbred Boer and Sirohi goat. In some North American countries, this goat is also raised as pet animal.