5 Differences Between Goat and Sheep You Must Know

Sheep and goat are popular livestock animals which bring many advantages for people. People consume their meat, milk, and produce the wool (sheep only) for fashion industry. You could find goats anywhere you go no matter which country you traveled – but, for sheep some countries can’t even raised them caused by differences climates weathers which not suitable for sheep to grow, such Southeast Asia countries.

Most of the people raised goats and sheep for farming business purpose, such: meat goat farming, and breed goats for milk production. But, it doesn’t mean you can’t make them as a pet! First thing first, there are important things you must know before having goat as a pet. Maybe you thought about keeping goat live inside the house, or raising goats in your backyard?

Well, I’m not saying that there are no consequences, but maybe you’re one of out of the box person type who always try something new, then what else i can say except you could try it! As long as you know the guideline, nothing is impossible. But now, we’re going to discuss about 5 differences between goat and sheep you must know, even though these two animals possess with many similarities – still, we could tell the differences based on these characteristic.

So, what we’re waiting for? Here are 5 differences between goat and sheep you must know!

Physical Differences

There are quite striking physical differences between goats and sheep you can easily catch when you saw them. Either way, if you still want to observe the differences by your own eyes, you could keep an eye on these aspects you may find:

The Genes

Even both of them was included in the subfamily Caprinae, goats and sheep have a different genus level patterned in their bodies. Goats has more or less 60 of chromosomes and sheep has more or less 54 of chromosomes.

Immunity Systems

The two of them has a different immunity systems. This caused by the differences of pasture management on their habit. Sheep has stronger resistance to pasture parasite because of their eating habit from the ground. They nature eating habit make them facing directly contact with tapeworms, and roundworms which is very often you’ll find on the ground.

In other hand, goats didn’t eat directly from the ground and technically, it’s really rare for them to make direct contact with parasites from the ground. That’s why, by nature goats was equipped with less-natural ability to resist infection of parasites. So, don’t be surprise anymore if you find that your goats are often caught on infection parasites than your sheep, all you can do is call a vet to help you as soon as possible.

The Hair

The first thing you can tell to distinguish both of them is the hair – do they have a fur or wool. Goats was well-known animal with fur, but sheep they have wearing thick wool coat that cover most of their bodies – but for a note; there are some sheep breeds which covered with fur just like goats. These wools all over their bodies was a natural shield for sheep to protect themselves from extreme temperatures.

When the summer comes, it is important thing for the shepherds to trim the wool to avoid and prevent the sheep overheating. You can shear the sheep at least once a year during the warm and hot weather.

The Tail

Second, you can tell the differences by pay attention to their tails. Perhaps you wouldn’t notice it, but goats tails are shorter than the sheep. The sheep naturally grown with long pointed down tails covered by wool, but goats are gifted with short straight up point tails.

Some farmer would shorten (dock) the long tails sheep to prevent the fly strike diseases caused by parasites which is very often attack sheep and goats.

What They Eat

Also, you can watch the preferences of food they would choose. Do they prefer eating trees or grasses. Sheep well-known as grazers animal, meaning sheep prefer to eat grass which grown under their feet – at the ground – but, goats are known as browsers. They would prefer to make some plants, such; weeds, vines, leaves, or shrubs which is higher than the ground – or simply eat things at their eye-level plants.

That’s why you will – sometimes – saw goats standing on his feet try to eat leaves directly from its tree. But, even though goats are browsers, still – this animal could eat grass too. So, in brief, goats are both grazers and browsers.


Goats was born naturally with – majority – narrow and upright horns. The horns on the sheep generally curvier and bigger than goats. You can see sheep’s horns is curls and shaped in loops on the sides of the head. Also, goats are often have beards which is none for sheep, but sheep do have manes.

Behavioral Differences

There are basic differences between goats and sheep; sheep is a flock animal, they will go where the flock go, but goats literally are independent animal. They have sense of curiosity one step a head from sheep. That’s why, you would never see a goat will gather together as a flock in field, because it’s not their nature behavior. They prefer to feel free and explore places alone. This basic different always become primary thought of may people that goats are smarter than sheep.

That is why it’s way easier to keep sheep on fence rather than keep goats on a fence. You’ll see if a sheep get separated from his flock, that sheep would exhibit stress symptoms like agitated, and scared. In confrontation, a ram would defense himself with his horns, and force the enemy to back off. In the fight between goats and rams, the rams have much advantage than goats.


Perhaps you already know this that goats are excellent climbers. They have a good control and balance above their body which make them could step on a rock trail and a pointed hill. Goats also had a good instinct than a sheep in a way of looking for shelter, in case that there’s climate changes on sudden.