Difference Between Sheep and Goat

Sheep and goat are very closely related beings that are from the cattle family. Despite being so closely linked to each other, they diverse a lot in their taxonomy.

Sheep vs Goat

The main difference between sheep and goat is that sheep gives us wool which a goat cannot. With that, there are a number of physical differences which you can easily spot by just 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

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 flock.

A goat is a slender body animal that is herbivorous in nature. It is considered 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 Between Sheep and Goat

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.Narrow and less curved horns.
TailThe tail points downwards.The tail points upwards.

What is Sheep?

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

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

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

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 kind of their habit.

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

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 that belongs to the Capra genus. It is lightweight, owns a short tail, horns arching backwards and hair that is very much straight.

Male goats are known as billys or bucks and own beard. Females are known as nannys or does, while the offsprings are known as kids. A healthy kid stands in minutes after born and can walk almost immediately in the herd.


The process of giving birth to a kid is known as kidding. 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 of age.

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

On the basis of 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 their 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 of a goat are called kids.
  3. Sheep own 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 goat 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 prior to the internal fat. As for goats, they accumulate fat around the internal organs prior to depositing the external fat on their ribs, back and loin.
Difference Between Sheep and Goat


Many differences reflect the differing nature of both species. The wild form of goats is found in abundance, while the domesticated sheep have a better symbiotic link with mankind.

So, we can see that despite the fact they both look so bleat and similar, they have a lot many differences, are very distinct from each other in terms of their traits, habits, and habitats.

Where sheep are easier to tackle and more vigorous in comparison to goats, they don’t give the same type of cleanup as goats. Sheep handle the cold environment in a better way. They don’t catch infection easily in comparison to goats which are easily prone to infections.

Both animals need the right amount of nutrition and food, proper living arrangements and a lot more to fulfil the goals of ideal livestock for mankind. Whether you pick on raising them for meat, milk or anything else, your choice will decide your motive regarding the animals.


  1. http://www.dieteticai.ufba.br/Temas/LEITEDERIVADOS/cabra%20e%20ovelha.pdf
  2. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

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