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Difference between Goat and Sheep

Goat and sheep are closely related animals that belong to the cattle family. However, they do not belong to the same species and have distinctive characteristics that distinguish them from one another. Let us see how a goat differs from a sheep!

Goat:

A goat is an herbivorous animal with a slender body. Its scientific name is Capra aegagrus hircus species and has 60 chromosomes. It is a natural browser that feeds on leaves, shrubs, vines and twigs. Goats can stand up on their hind legs to reach the plants. They are independent and curious animals by nature. Almost all goat breeds are naturally horned and have a beard. Their horns are narrower, more upright and less curved.

A goat's tail usually remains up unless it is sick or frightened. When goats fight with one another, they rear up on their hind legs and come down forcibly to butt heads. Male goats tend to develop a distinct odour as they become sexually mature. This odour becomes very strong during the mating season.

Sheep:

A sheep is an herbivorous animal with a tubbier body. Its scientific name is Ovis aries and has 54 chromosomes. Sheep are natural grazers that feed on grass and clover. They are not curious and independent by nature so tend to stay in its flock and become agitated if separated from the rest of the flock. Their upper lip is divided by a distinct philtrum (groove).

Sheep generally have fluffy wool that needs to be sheared at least once in a year. They do not have beard and horns and their tails point downward and often shortened for health or sanitary reasons. Marino sheep is an exception. It has horns that tend to curl in loops on the sides of its head. Furthermore, sheep have tear glands below their eyes and scent glands between the toes and while fighting aggressive male sheep tend to attack head-on.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between goat and sheep are as follows:

Goat Sheep
It has a slender body. It has a tubbier body.
Goats are natural browsers and prefer to eat leaves, twigs, vines and shrubs. Sheep are natural grazers as they prefer to eat short, tender grass and clover.
The scientific name of goat is Capra aegagrus hircus. The scientific name of sheep is Ovis aries.
It has 60 chromosomes. It has 54 chromosomes.
It is independent and curious by nature. It is not independent and curious and tends to stay in its flock.
Most goats have hair on their body. Sheep generally have a thick coat of wool on their body.
Their hair does not require shearing. Their fluffy wool needs to be sheared at least once in a year.
Goats have a beard. Sheep don't have a beard.
Its tail points upward. Its tail points downward.
Their upper lip is not divided by a groove. Their upper lip is divided by a distinct philtrum (groove).
Goats' horns are narrower, more upright and less curved. Sheep lack horns, only Marino sheep have horns curled in loops on the sides of its head.
Goat's tail is not docked. Lamb's tail is frequently docked.
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