An Angora goat is a domesticated goat bred for its extremely long, silky hair, which can be sheared twice annually and spun into mohair. The original Angora goats come from Angora, a region of Turkey, although today they can be found in many regions of the world, and some breeders have crossed the breed with other goats to encourage more hardy characteristics and to create colored Angora goats, with fur in a variety of shades including brown, gray, and black in addition to the classic white.
Historical evidence suggests that the Angora goat has been around since at least 1,000 BCE, and they are probably even older. The original Turkish breed was apparently somewhat delicate after years of breeding, so Turkish goat farmers began crossing their Angoras with other goats to make them hardier. Several attempts were made to import Angora goats into Europe, but the goats didn't fare well outside of Turkey until the 1800s, when a batch was exported to Africa. Today, Africa is a major producer of mohair, and specially bred hardy Angora goats are also raised in Asia, parts of Europe, and the Americas.
The hair of the Angora goat is similar in composition to wool, but it has a much softer, silkier texture. It is also extremely elastic and lustrous, making it very suitable for a fine-quality wool. Mohair will also not felt like wool does, and it can be blended with other fibers and dyed in a variety of ways to create a broad assortment of Mohair products.
These goats are somewhat smaller than most goat breeds, and their coats of hair are quite thick, especially in the weeks leading up to shearing. Both males and females have horns, with the horns of the male developing a distinctive spiral growth pattern. Angora goats can be demanding to raise, as they need a very high-quality diet to encourage the growth of healthy hair, and they can be challenging to breed. The goats are also known for being delicate, especially in the weeks following shearing, so they need shelter such as a barn or stable.
In addition to being raised for hair, an Angora goat can also make an excellent mower and weed disposal unit. Angoras and other goats are often used for weed control along highways, for example, and they can be turned loose on a lawn or overgrown area around the house or farm to bring the weeds under control. Angoras tend to be a bit less aggressive and curious than other goats, so they are safe around other animals and people of all ages, and the Angora goat is much less likely to escape its confinement or to raise a ruckus when compared to other goat breeds.