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Sheep and Goats: Learn the Difference by Hukkanaama Sheep and Goats: Learn the Difference by Hukkanaama
Big image, whoah man!

I wanted to stretch my graphic designer muscles after having done little to no graphic design stuff for almost a year. Phew! So, I bring you a short and sweet guide to how to distinguish a sheep from a goat! Even though they appear very similar, they are actually very easy to tell apart.

Oh course, the facts here are mostly generalizations. For example, I'm sure there are some domesticated goat breeds that don't have horns, as there are domesticated sheep breeds that do have them, and stuff like that. These are just basic guidelines. (Fun fact: In 2005, a flock of Finnsheep were found in Jaala, Finland, that had reverted back close to the original, historical form of Finnsheep due to uncontrolled breeding and harsh living conditions. These sheep, dubbed as "Jaala sheep" came in variety of colors, had fur on top of wool and horns - traits that aren't common to modern day Finnsheep. Apparently this caused the entire Finnish textile archeology and middle age enthusiast community to implode on itself, as these sheep had the type of wool our ancestors used in their clothing. More info on Jaala sheep (only in Finnish) here and here)

Here are the sources I used as links for those who are interested:
Sheep 101: Sheep and Goats
Animal Planet: Why aren't mountain goats really goats?

Videos showing sheep / goats headbutting:
Domestic sheep
Bighorn Sheep
Domestic goats
Nubian Ibex

EDIT: Oh my goodness, guys! I'm drowning in faves! Thank you so much for the support, I do try to answer your comments but I'm not sure if I can keep up with them. I'll try! :heart:
EDIT 2: Corrected some info. Thank you, everyone who shared their knowledge!

EDIT 3: Gosh guys, a DD? That's definitely something I didn't expect. :faint: Thanks for the ongoing support, everyone, I'm glad this little guide has been useful for so many!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-03-11
Heyriel Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I'm ashamed to say that all of that was news to me. Thank you for thise awesome guide!! :D
Crimson-Wolf2323 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
FlyQueen Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2014   Digital Artist
We have 3 Goats and some Cameroon sheep~ They are both interesting to care for 8>
But personally I think it's funnier to have pet goats because they make so much nonsense and don't give a fuck about almost anything XD
Bat-Snake Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm sure you've seen the recent news that a living goat/sheep has been born alive and well. He's super healthy apparently and is faster in speed than the other lambs.

And holy crap it's adorable…
Hukkanaama Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014  Professional
As a matter of fact, I didn't! That's really interesting, thanks for sharing! :D What a cutie.
Bat-Snake Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome!

It's not what I thought the chimera would look like, but its cute nonetheless. 
CrossDevice Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013
This could be very helpful. Much thanks
lalacassiano Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013   Traditional Artist
Thank you , this is very helpful!! :3
MojoLiazon Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Professional General Artist
And congrats on the DD! Seems a whole lot of people must have been pondering the differences. :D
MojoLiazon Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Professional General Artist
Eh... Heh... Sorry to be a nitpicker, but I'd just like to offer the info that some sheep have beards and don't require shearing. (They shed their wool). Also there is a sheep breed with an upright goatlike tail but that might just be a Mouflon variant, though it is called a sheep. :P Also, some sheep don't graze, they browse just like goats. Some goats graze. But I know, you did already say it's a generalization. 

But this is a very helpful infographic, it ought to help a lot of people. Good on you for doing it! 
Hukkanaama Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2013  Professional
That's some interesting info you got there! You wouldn't happen to know or remember the names of the breeds/species you're talking about? I'd like to know more about them, especially the sheep with goat-like tail and ones that shed their wool. :D
MojoLiazon Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Purebred Barbados Blackbelly sheep often have very short, goatlike tails, and they're descended from Mouflon in part so I guess this isn't strictly ovine, though the lines between caprine and ovine are often blurred. If it hybridizes freely with sheep, despite looking like a goat, I guess it's close enough!

As for shedding wool, any breed of hair sheep that is purebred and grows wool at all tends to be also a seasonal "self-shedder" that only grows wool for winter, and sheds it afterwards. 

While there are many breeds of hair sheep that shed, for example, Damara sheep. They're also called 'fat tailed sheep' but a lot of breeds are very similar. Their tails can be as wide as their bodies and function like a camel's hump. Even lactating ewes only come into water every second day.

It would seem that sheep that permanently keep their wool are probably the result of thousands of years of human breeding for that trait. All wild and primitive types of sheep tend towards shedding, although that's a debated topic. Damaras are one of the oldest, purest, strongest gene pools and dominate all others because of that, and they're shedders. Whenever people see them the first thing they think is "goat!" lol. 

The father of my Damara ewe had a full beard as well as a mane but I've been unable to find another Damara Ram with a beard. I've heard of a case that was in the agricultural news where a supposedly pedigree Merino produced a goat hybrid after breeding with another pedigree Merino; this was traced back five generations to a goat being left with a sheep. Apparently sheep and goats can produce fertile hybrids that can go undiscovered because they take so strongly after one parent or the other, not 'showing' both. From all I've learned of goats and sheep, they don't seem as distantly related as I'd been taught.
Hukkanaama Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013  Professional
Oh, that's really fascinating - especially that thing about hybrids. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! I can't say I know much about sheep and goats - I just happen to think they're pretty and find them interesting - so it's awesome when people with more experience take time to educate me. :D
MojoLiazon Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Professional General Artist
You're welcome, not that I'm an expert. Hybrids are fascinating indeed. Apparently hybridizing in the wild occurs quite often, and some species are in fact derived from hybrids entirely. At any given point, if you know what you're looking at, you can see hybrid animals in the wild everywhere. Hybrid birds, antelope and other ruminants, reptiles, etc.  :D
NixKat Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very interesting.
MarieDubois Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013
Favoriting because this is ridiculously interesting. I really like the horns and the info is great too.
GalumptiousGecko Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is so awesome! I've been trying to look for something like this for ages. Thank you!
Alyssa-Lioness Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013

I show sheep with 4H. I once over heard two mothers trying to show their kids the animals. The first woman says "Look at the goat! What does the goat say?" to her child. I was very relieved when the other said "that's not a goat!"


Until she quite confidently stated, "it's a cow." :iconfacepalmplz:


SilverWolf1717 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Student Artist
thxs 4 the help
Alichzy72 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love you for this! I have a goat and love goats! Even still I don't know everything about them, but I did learn some new stuff from this!
emilyonthehunt Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013
This was very informative. Thanks :aww:
AlwaysInYourHead Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This kind of describes the differences between myself and my mother... Not only is she an Aries (the sheep) and I'm a Capricorn (the goat), but those animals fit us really well. My mother has a boxier shape, while I'm more of a slender shape. She has full lips, mine are thin. I like things that are unpredictable and unique (ergo the twisty horns) while she likes more simple things. Even the behavior is spot on: My mom is very passive aggressive, so she'll take a moment to back away and breathe, but then she'll charge right at you. I on the other hand, like to get things done, and won't back away from an argument. I'm also very independent, while my mom is more focused on the rest of the family. (This is probably really irreverent, but it was just the first thing that came to my mind. Thanks for this!)
Mirrixor Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
That is very interesting actually :3
Ovelayotli Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013   Digital Artist
I already knew some of those differences, but It's always good to read and learn something new~ Thanks for sharing this
Dog-Of-Awesome Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've never even thought about the difference between sheep and goats! I think that proves that I needed to see this... great work! Awesome resource!
kitty-kitty519 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2013
I'm just happy that info like this is out there and people can know the difference now. I have goats myself and I know how much I've hated it when people ask me, "Why don't you raise sheep? They'd be easier to raise/Aren't they the same as goats?"

Anyway, I like this very much :) I like your art style for this, it's really cool.
Inarita Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
oh man!! This is so awesome! :clap:
AngeliSeraphim Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Never realized there are significant differences between the two. Simple, to the point, and informative while staying interesting all at the same time. Great job!
serkunet Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this! I think sheeps and goats are some of my top fave animals ^^
LogOnshop Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013
I never saw this coming, really interesting info graphic :))
nokinno Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Student General Artist
I really like this infographic. :)
Nicely done!
rozensouseiseki Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
wow, this was really helpfull, thank you so much :3
Very cool! Artistic and educational!
ryanisnasty Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013
Congratulations on the well deserved DD!
jenniferhilmoe Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Student Filmographer
I used to work at the petting zoo at our Zoo and people were getting sheep and goats mixed up ALL. THE. TIME. Of course they were also calling our goats llamas, dogs(!), ponies, and even cows. All of this despite having sheep and cows in the pens next door. It is not at ALL hard to tell the difference, I will never understand how people get them mixed up. On a side note, though, this is very well put-together and informative. :D
MadHatterMCR Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Interesting to read and nice art!
Madame-Meepers Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
*double thumbs up for awesome illustrated education*
Kikioh-San Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist
The idea is cute and good n__n I luv this :D
Midnightpintowolf Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
<3 this!!!!
MachinesBleedToo Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
this is so cute and simple and easy to understand- you've stripped away the unnecessary things. Good to see in any kind of informative thing.
ephelan Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Full of awesome <3
vanilleass Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Aw this is really helpful!
I've never drawn goats and sheep before
and this is a great way to teach people the difference

so adorable <3
great job 8D
congrats on the DD as well!
Rangeh Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for this.
As a Nubian Dairy Goat breeder, you can't imagine how many simple city folks walk up and compliment my 'short hair sheep'! It gets on my nerves beyond belief.
Seeing this just makes me smile.
jenniferhilmoe Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Student Filmographer
Our goats at the petting zoo we ran were constantly getting called everything BUT goats, despite clearly being goats and having a large sign that said "goats" on it. We got sheep, llamas, alpacas, dogs (I'm not even joking, we had people asking what kind of dog they were), and cows. It's like seriously, people? Being "city folk" is no excuse, we all get those children's picture books as kids that talk about all the different farm animals. That's all it should take to tell the difference. And there is just no excuse for the dog thing.
Rangeh Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh my god that's terrible xD. People have called the Kids dogs, but never the adults.
People are just stupid these days, it seems.
jenniferhilmoe Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013  Student Filmographer
Ya, and the sad part was most of them were parents. The minds of those poor children.
Rangeh Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ohgod.. why ;;
BloodWolfGurl Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome! :D

Man I sometimes envy those beautiful horns lol not that I really want horns, mind you... lol.
chill13 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very very interesting! I really don't usually draw these animals. However it's always nice to have a wonderful reverence like this. Very informative and understandable.
cloudwatcherakira Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Student General Artist
Amazing design and graphics!
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Submitted on
February 18, 2013
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