The Naming of Goats

I’d always loved goats—every one
of them different from every other one,
and all of them goofy and playful.

— Steve Watkins, What Comes After

So you’ve finally resolved to make the leap: whether for their milk, or fiber, or simple companionship, you’ve decided to add some goats to your family menagerie. In preparation, you have…

  • Read everything you can get your hands on about the care and feeding of goats;
  • Set aside a chuck of land big enough to accommodate your new goat friends;
  • Enclosed it with a fence tall and strong enough to hold them (remember, goats are curious and love to climb things, or else eat through them);
  • Built a small barn or other roofed enclosure to house them in inclement weather (goats hate to get wet);
  • Invested in stainless steel buckets and a milking bench (if delving into the goat milk and cheese business is your plan), and created a sanitary environment for serious dairy production; and
  • Picked out the breed and gender of goats you want to keep and brought them to their new home.

Now all that’s left is to choose names for your goats (and get them imprinted on durable Ketchum goat ear tags). Coming up with suitable names may be the hardest part of all—but also the most fun.

Fans of the poet T.S. Eliot are no doubt familiar with his book titled Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Cats is based on these poems). The first poem in that book, “The Naming of Cats,” begins:

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.

Fortunately, the Naming of Goats is not a difficult matter at all. In fact, goats practically name themselves. And only one name should suffice! With few exceptions, the only rule is: get to know your animal first. You will quickly realize that goats are smart, and every goat has a unique, individual personality that will go a long way toward suggesting just the right name for that particular animal. Moreover, they are smart critters. Over time they will learn their name and will even respond to it.

The exceptions? If you want to register your dairy goat with the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA), there are certain rules you must follow. The goat’s name must be confined to 30 letters (including spaces) and must begin with the breeder’s herd name, if any. The name cannot be changed once registered. The American Goat Society (AGS) has similar naming restrictions.

That being said, here are some ideas to get you started thinking about the perfect name for your goat.

Girl Goat Names and Boy Goat Names

First, let’s get our terminology straight. Male goats are called bucks, and female goats are does. Baby goats are kids. And neutered males are known as wethers. Depending on their gender, you can give a goat any name you would give a human child, from Annabelle to Zelda or from Arnold to Zeke.

Here is a collection of additional male and female pet goat names for you to “borrow.”

Famous Goat Names

President Benjamin Harrison with children and goat
Pres. Benjamin Harrison with children and Whiskers the goat

There are a number of celebrity goats you might want to name your goats after. For instance, renowned animal lover and US. President Abraham Lincoln kept two goats at the White House, which he named Nanny and Nanko. Another President, Benjamin Harrison, had a goat named Whiskers.

Or you could name your goat after the late, great Gary the Goat, who was famed for his comedy antics with owner Jimbo Bazoobi and who had accumulated some 1.7 million Facebook followers before he passed away in 2017.

And there’s no lack of fictional goat names to mine, from cartoons (like Esmerelda’s goat Djali from the Disney animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame) to live action movies (e.g., the half-man–half-goat faun Mr. Tumnus from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).

Here are more famous goat names to inspire you.

Cute Goat Names

With their adorable faces and endearing antics, is there anything in this world cuter than a baby goat? The cuter the goat, the more it deserves a cute goat name.

Flowery names are always appropriate, like Jasmine or Rose—except for sexually mature bucks, which during mating season (or “rut”) stink with a strong musky odor from their urine and from scent glands located near their horns.

You can have a lot of fun with humorous or silly names, like Frank Capricorn or The Great Goatsby. Alternatively, since goats are such good climbers, you can honor their agility by naming them after renowned mountaineers, such as Sir Edmund Hillary or Tenzing Norgay.

Since goats can be very vocal, why not name yours after noteworthy singers, like Luciano Pavarotti or Freddy Mercury?

Those are just a few suggestions. Here are dozens more cute goat names you can try on for size.

We hope this article inspires you to come up with your own unique, creative names for your goats. And don’t forget to get the names embossed on a set of goat tags for your animals!

Black and white goats in doorway


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