Myotonic Goat Registry
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Adger, AL 35006
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Reasons Why the MGR Records Crossbreds

By: Phillip Sponenberg

Over the years the registration or recording of crossbred goats into registries for Myotonic goats (Nervous goats, Scare goats, Fainting goats) has been a very contentious issue. On one side of the issue are people who are adamant that no crossbreeding should ever occur with this breed, and that to do so is to assure the demise of the breed. On the other side are breeders who hold that any and every goat with myotonia is a true Myotonic goat, so why bother with the breed background at all? These breeders see nothing wrong with registering any and all goats that have myotonia. Many breeders are in between these two extremes.

The MGR holds firmly to the belief that the Myotonic Goat is indeed a true breed in the narrow genetic sense. This means that Tennessee (and Texas) Myotonic Goats are an entire genetic package that goes well beyond the stiffness. Maintaining the consistency of the entire package should be of utmost interest to purebred breeders. To lose the package is to lose the breed – and nearly everyone agrees that there is much, much more than muscular stiffness to the utility and interest in this breed. The other parts of the package are quiet behavior, parasite resistance, good mothering ability, and the list goes on from there.

In order to protect the genetic integrity of the breed, the MGR decided that it was best to identify and register known crossbreds. This would allow breeders to “grade up” to purebred status, by clearly identifying goats that were known to be partly outside breeding. This way, even if a 75% Myotonic goat “looked right” it could not be misidentified as a purebred animal. Registering the crossbreds or upgrades in herds of serious breeders gives these goats a specific identity. This greatly reduces the chance that they or their offspring will be presented to the registry as purebreds. In order to prevent the registration of crossbreds as purebreds, it was decided to be wisest to provide a specific strategy for the registration of crossbreds (and upgrades).

Hopefully all breeders will recognize the wisdom of keeping the breed pure, and keeping known crossbreds out of the purebred breeding pool. The MGR is intent on doing just that, and the registration and identification of crossbreds allows it to succeed in keeping the breed pure and useful.

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