The Many Faces of Oberhasli

We present this collage of portraits to illustrate the range of expression and patterning within the Oberhasli breed. These photos represent herds in both Switzerland and America. Facial markings showing distinct stripes are probably most common. Solid black faces are in the minority and are most often seen on bucks. In the U.S. only, solid black does may be registered and kept as breeding stock. The solid black coloring is a recessive trait in the original Oberhasli breeding stock, though Swiss breeders have always chosen to exclude the black animals from their breeding programs.

Though some of these animals have horns, they are not allowed on registered dairy goats of any breed in the U.S. and most modern Swiss breeders are finding that the market for their breeding stock is broader when their animals have been disbudded when young. By contrast, the animals shown here with distinct brown markings on the top of the head are naturally polled (hornless).

Hornlessness is a dominant genetic trait in dairy goats and was one of the traits selected for by the original Swiss ‘Brienz-Oberhasli’ breeders. Other facial traits include a broader, deeper-jawed head, more molding around the eyes and lower set ears than found in the more common races of chamoisee- colored dairy goats in Europe. It was through rigorous selective breeding that the resulting distinctive subgroup or breed known as ‘Brienzer-Oberhasli’ or simply, ‘Oberhasli’, came to exist.

OBI members are invited to send in photographic contributions for this display.Contact OBI.