Cashmere: Goat’s Underwear!

When I think of cashmere, I imagine soft luxurious sweaters, high-priced outer apparel and soft, exceptionally warm blankets and pashmina shawls. If you’re a fiber enthusiast, you’re thinking goats…ALL goats downy undercoat… or ‘underwear??’  ~~~  is what we call cashmere!

Seasonally, as autumn approaches, all goats ‘grow’ a soft downy undercoat that help to insulate and keep the goat warm through winter. The guard hair is the visible outer coat. The ultra-soft cushy ‘cashmere’ is normally shed out in Spring. The owner of the goat usually combs the goat out during several combings (goats rarely shed out all at once) to ‘harvest’ the cashmere for processing. The average goat yields 4 to 6 ounces of cleaned, de-haired cashmere per year.

Cashmere goats are not a breed per se; they are a type of goat that’s selected due to their supreme cashmere production. My Pygmy goat, Oreo, produces a very fine ‘cashmere-like’ undercoat compared to my dairy goats! Cashmere goats come in all colors and usually produce white, cream-colored, light-browns and gray cashmere/undercoat.

Today, China is the largest producer of commercial cashmere. Thanks to the development of the North American Cashmere goat breed standard, you can find some homegrown cashmere finery right here in the U.S.

Is there a cashmere goat in your future?

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6 thoughts on “Cashmere: Goat’s Underwear!

  1. wow! very interesting…i didn’t know cashmere was harvested that way. i brush out my wether goats in the spring, but i don’t know if it’s spinning material! thanks for sharing this, jenny!

  2. Hi! I was just curious what breed of cashmere goat is the black one in the photo? I have a little doe that I got who is 3/4 nubian and 1/4 cashmere but the lady I bought her from didn’t say anymore than that just that the mother was half nubian half cashmere…she has the same exact facial markings as the one in the photo.

    • Hi Ashley! Thanks for stopping by to say ‘hello’.

      Actually, Cashmere goats are a type, not a specific breed. Most goat breeds, except Angora, can produce this down – or undercoat – in varied quantities and may be called cashmere goats. There is no such thing as a “purebred” cashmere goat. Goats with heavy cashmere undercoats are singled-out and then bred, to produce more cashmere ‘characteristics’.

      The fleece consists of the very fine, crimpy down and the usually longer, outside, coarse, straight guard hairs. A goat that does not display both types of fiber should be avoided.

      Cashmere fibers must be separated, either by combing out the down or by using a commercial dehairer on sheared fibers. The longest, finest down is used in knitted garments and the shorter down in woven fabrics. The separated guard hairs go into rugs or hair canvas used in tailored garments. Hope this helps!

      • Thank you. I have been researching and found that it’s not a specific breed but have found that there are certain breeds that are used for cashmere I am just trying to find what breed my doe is mixed with as all the lady said was cashmere. I’m thinking from what I’m finding online that maybe she is mixed with australian but I’m not certain. Her facial markings match those on the picture so I was just curious if I could pinpoint a specific breed. Thank you for the info

      • Hi Ashley!

        In the goat world (and sheep world) colors/markings do not necessarily identify a breed. There are many ‘colors’ and ‘patterns/markings’ that are common to several breeds. I’m most familiar w/dairy goats and their breed standards which can be researched thru any one of the dairy goat associations such as ADGA or AGS. However, the former owner of your Nubian should be able to provide breeder info so you can further research your doe’s ancestry. In the dairy goat world, there’s specific names for color/markings. The dark colored goat you initially inquired about is often referred to as ‘badger-face’, and is common in Alpine goats. Also, I would direct you to Redneck Acres in Kansas where they raise beautiful Silky fainting goats @https://www.facebook.com/pages/Redneck-Acres-Silky-Fainting-Goats-Goat-Milk-Products/143490419026639?sk=photos_stream

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