Animal domestication and breeding are not a new phenomenon; humans have been in coexistence with animals for thousands of years.
In Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the western Saudi Arabian Hejaz, breeding goats is quite common. Many breeders consider raising the Hajazi goats a hobby and provide these unique animals with a lot of care and love.
Some breeders are exceptionally keen on selective breeding in order to combine specific characteristics and genes which will produce the desired unique qualities and traits of these goats.
The breeding of Hejazi goats aims to establish and maintain stable traits and distinctiveness.
The Hejazi goat is characterized by its round face and small head;with two lengthy ears that could reach up to seventy centimeters high, and a width of twenty-five centimeters. The goat’s neck has a beautiful outline which could reach up to half a meter long, and the Hejazi goat’s body stretches out to an average of meter and half. Moreover this particular goat’s eyes, tail and hair are all complementary features.
Although long ears are considered a sign of beauty, it also acts as a double edged sword as it may cause young goats a serious amount of damage which could affect the ear permanently. This forces shepherds to provide extra care for the goat’s health.
Goat breeders continue to improve their goat strains through hybridization with rare breeds. This happens by sorting goats inside production pens. The hybridization of Hejazi goats, which their shepherds like to call them ‘Al Zaraybee,’ takes place here. ‘Al Zaraybee’ are crossed with ‘Al Kamoori’ goats, which are one of the few and rarest goats that come which India and Pakistan.
These types of goats are the key which provide the unique physical structure and beautiful lengthy ears after hybridization.
On the other hand the ‘Shami’ goats are bred specifically to provide the round face and distinct beautiful eyes. Then as regards to color and coat, the Dutch and Malaysian sheep are used.
Every goat in this place has a special name. This is how its owners demonstrate their love to these animals. The goat’s names can sometimes reach up to the fifth grandfather, as an indication and proof of the goat’s authenticity and rare strain. This name remains known to other shepherds for future purposes.
The hobby of breeding goats is no longer a practice by guardians only. Youth have shown interest in these unique animals and are spending more and more time appreciating the breed of these special goats.
Original Report: Khamis Al Zahrani
Translation: Shounaz Mekky