Sheep vs Goat: Difference and Comparison

Sheep and goats are very closely related beings from the cattle family. Despite being so closely linked, they diverge a lot in their taxonomy.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sheep are domesticated mammals bred for wool, milk, and meat, while goats are domesticated mammals bred for milk, meat, and fiber.
  2. Sheep have woolly coats and curved horns, while goats have straight horns and hair or fur coats.
  3. Sheep are more docile and prefer grazing on grass, while goats are more independent and prefer browsing on leaves, twigs, and shrubs.

Sheep vs Goat

Sheep gives us wool which a goat cannot. With that, there are several physical differences which you can easily spot by looking at both of them, like their body shape, which depicts that a sheep is a bit less slender in body shape than a goat.

Sheep vs Goat

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Sheep is a tubbier body animal known to be a natural grazer. It mainly feeds on clover and grass.

It is a pretty independent animal and mostly stays in flocks. It gets anxious when separated from its community.

A goat is a slender body animal that is herbivorous. It is a natural browser that sustains on shrubs, vines, twigs and leaves.

They stand on their dorsal legs to grab plants for grazing. Male goats possess a smell as they turn mature sexually, and their odour gets on peak during mating times.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSheepGoat
Scientific nameOvis ariesCapra aegagrus hircus
Chromosome number54 chromosomes.60 chromosomes.
Kind of bodyTubbier body.Slender body.
BeardDon’t own a beard but owns a mane.Owns a beard.
HornsThey lack horns.Little and less curved horns.
TailThe tail points downwards.The tail points upwards.

What is Sheep?

Sheep is a mammal considered a domesticated ruminant, i.e. a chewing animal. It is raised worldwide for milk, meat and wool.

Sheep have scent glands on hind feet and in the face and have short tails. The outer coat forms the hair in wild species, and beneath the outer jacket lays an inner layer of thick wool.

A mature sheep weighs about 80-400 pounds. It swallows its food and munches the cud. This enables its stomach compartments to digest the herbage and grass properly it eats.

Sheep feels amazing in grazing legumes or grass, i.e. fine and short vegetation that is brushy and coarse. You must keep a check that sheep don’t overgraze an area, which is their habit.

They are pretty shy animals who stay mostly in flocks and lack predator protection. They get mature at the age of one or one and a half. Majorly single offspring is born, but twins may also be taken in a few cases.

Domestic breed of sheep varies from their wild parents in quality and quantity of fleece, milk production, size, conformation and other traits. Most varieties are wool producers, while only a few give rise to hair.


What is Goat?

A goat is a hollow-horned and ruminant mammal of the Capra genus. It is lightweight, has a short tail, horns arching backwards, and hair very much straight.

Male goats are known as billys or bucks and own beards. Females are known as nannies or doe, while the offspring are known as kids. A healthy kid stands minutes after birth and can walk almost immediately in the herd.

The process of giving birth to a kid is known as kids. A doe can give birth to 1-6 litters (giving birth to 3 litters every two years). Goats live for 8-12 years and, in some cases, may live up to 15 years.

Goats don’t own teeth in the upper front jaw but own 24 molars. They eat grass, clover, browse and don’t eat clothing, garbage, or tin cans. They also don’t like getting wet and seek immediate shelter during a rain.

Based on the breed type, an adult doe can weigh between 23-300 pounds, and a buck can weigh between 27-350 pounds. Goats also vary in height depending on their breed type, which is 17-42 inches from the shoulder.

Goat Milk

Main Differences Between Sheep and Goat

  1. A mature male sheep is known as Ram and female sheep is known as Ewe. As for a goat, the male one is known as Billy or Buck, and the female one is known as Nanny or doe.
  2. Young ones of sheep are called lambs, while a goat is called kids.
  3. Sheep on a thick and fuller coat that has to be sheared being a source of wool. Goats, on the other hand, have fur that could be sheared to give cashmere and mohair.
  4. Sheep and goats have different mouth shapes. A sheep’s upper lip has a division known as philtrum (groove), which the goat’s upper lip doesn’t have.
  5. Sheep accumulate external fat before internal fat. As for goats, they get fat around the internal organs before depositing the external fat on their ribs, back and loin.
Difference Between Sheep and Goat

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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