Angora Goats and Mohair
Originating in the foothills of the Himalayas, the angora goat was brought to Asia Minor by small tribes from Turkmenistan during their slow westward migration, particularly in the region of Ankara (formerly Angora) in present-day Turkey – the origin of the name “angora goat.”
The animal was so valuable and its fleece so luxurious that for centuries, the sultans of the Ottoman Empire forbade the exportation of its goats under pain of death. At the beginning of the 19th century however some subjects reached South Africa and in about 1850, Texas – a gift from the sultan of the day to a Texan physician who had healed his son. In Quebec, the first angora goats – ten females, one of them gravid, and two males – arrived in February 1976, imported from Texas by Margrit Multhaupt of Valcourt.
Today, the largest number of angora goats are found in South Africa, Texas, Australia and New Zealand. There are also some in other parts of the world: France, England, Denmark etc. In Quebec, sixteen breeders currently share a total number of around 1000 head, descendants of Texan and South African lines.
The angora goat produces mohair, a natural fibre that is soft, light, silky, glossy, resistant and three times warmer than wool. Don’t confuse mohair and wool (produced by sheep), or mohair and angora (produced by the angora rabbit).
A few Quebec breeders process the mohair from their goats themselves and make from it superb garments: sweaters, shawls, scarves, tuques, mitts, socks, blankets, throws etc.
For more about breeding angora goats and producing mohair, these two documents, in French, may be consulted on line (web sites: www.chevreduquebec.com and www.chevreangora.com) :
« Élevage de la chèvre angora - La chèvre du Québec (Démarrage et développement d’une entreprise de production et de transformation du mohair » (by Régis Pilote, 2011) and « Transformation du mohair ».