Raising a dwarf goat is like raising a regular goat...only everything is in miniature ...because of that, they don't take up as much space. And, of course, their small size makes them even more adorable.
Size restrictions for those living in urban settings really makes the dwarf breeds the best choice when considering goats for your backyard.
Dwarf Dairy Goats
If you're wanting goats for milk production, the most popular are Nigerian Dwarf Goats (although some people get Pygmy goats for milk production as well). If you're milking your Nigerian goat, you'll typically get anywhere from one pint to a half-gallon of milk per day. (It's very trendy these days to take up both cheese making and soap making if you have goats ...unless you have a lot of milk-consumers living under your roof!)
Dwarf Fiber Goats
If you're wanting to raise goats for fiber, then either a Pygora or Nigora goat will be the one you'll want. Both of these goats are dwarf and both are bred specifically for their fleece. They require more care because of their long fleece and they also should be sheared twice a year. It's possible to get up to 4 pounds of fleece per year from one of these goats.
Dwarf Meat Goats
Because of their small size, dwarfs haven't been bred specifically for meat (which makes sense if the whole reason you're raising them is to eat them!) Yet, pretty much any kind of goat can be used for meat, although if you're wanting a dwarf, Pygmy or Kinder goats are probably the best bet.
Dwarf Pet Goats
Some people in the city just want the pet goat experience without worrying about the milk, meat or fiber they'll get in return. Any dwarf goat can make a good pet, but there are a couple things to keep in mind:
1. Generally, a neutered male goat (called a wether) are considered the best goat to have for a pet. Males goats are usually the most outgoing and friendly, and a neutered goat won't exhibit typical testosterone-like behavior as he ages (also, a buck (unfixed male goat) can sometimes smell bad).
2. When picking out a goat, make sure it's friendly and 'tame'. Starting with a tame goat goes a long ways when deciding to raise a goat as a pet. If the goat is too 'wild' it will take a lot of time and patience to tame him. Why not get a head start and bring home a friendly tame goat to begin with?
Want a helpful book all about raising goats? This is one of the best around:
The Backyard Goat, An Introductory Guide by Sue Weaver
More information about raising goats: