“The Saanen in the UK”

In Switzerland the Saanen is the largest and heaviest milking of the goat breeds and in 1922 the Secretary of the British Goat Society, Mr Palmer, visited Switzerland to obtain Saanen goats for import to Britain but due to an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease was unable to obtain permission to import to the UK. As an alternative he purchased white goats from Holland and the original importation was not of Saanen goats but Dutch goats descended entirely from goats that had been imported into Holland from Germany with no connection to Switzerland whatsoever. Indeed the Dutch White is a much smaller animal well suited to stall feeding and the Swiss Saanen is a large, free ranging goat from the hills of Switzerland.

The Saanen Herd Book (British Goat Society Register) from 1922 contains only Dutch White sourced goats but in 1965 a few Swiss Saanens were imported but they were generally much larger than the type favoured by British enthusiasts and the bloodline has generally died out. Semen was imported from Switzerland in 1993 by the Saanen Breed Society but this remains largely unused.

In 1995 two female goats were imported from Holland, one died but the other, R203 Timyon Elle Q* Br Ch, made an instant impact, her daughter RM293 Timyon Eleni *1 became the highest yielding Saanen of all time and another daughter, RM196 Timyon Ellen *1 Br Ch was a great success in the show ring.

This was followed by the Dutch White males Imported Onno and Imported Chessnico who have improved the quality of Saanen Goats in the UK immensely. Further importations from Holland have followed and from matings with indigenous Saanens, are showing improvements in both milk quantity and quality.

In the UK the Saanen is carefully bred by a few goat keepers. It is renowned for long steady lactations, a placid nature and quiet intelligence. It has had an important influence on the British Saanen Breed. The pure Saanen from Britain is in demand throughout the World and has been exported to China, Brazil, India, Spain, the West Indies, America and even to Switzerland. When bred with indigenous goats the resulting hybrid vigour increases the milk potential of the offspring. In Western India the use of pure Saanen males trebled the milk production of native goats in two generations.

Timyon Saanens are all based on imported Dutch White goats, males & females, bred with Mostyn based Saanens originating from the 1922 importation of Dutch Whites. I avoid at all costs any Saanens with Swiss blood, they are larger and generally courser and have poor butterfats and proteins. In world goat circles the Saanen is described as the largest of the goat breeds, in the UK it is amongst the smallest.

My "J" line comes entirely from the crossing of Richmay Juliana (sire SM Ch $210/210 Mostyn Minivalboy) with Imported Uno (the Dutch White male TJeppenburster Uno)to produce R249 Timyon Julia *1 who was put to Timyon Elm from Imported Uno and a daughter of the Dutch White Milker R203 Timyon Elle Q* Br Ch (registered in Holland as Annegree 196) to produce RM287 Timyon Jeanie Q*2, Br Ch. Jeanie was mated twice to SM Donleys Aramis, By Imported Chessnico out of Echin Ailsa to produce five prize winning daughters that have been the back bone of the herd for many years.

It is my belief that I should limit my herd to a manageable and enjoyable level. My passion is for the Dutch White type, which are quiet and easily managed but different to the smaller and finer Saanen preferred in Northern England and by Judges generally. This does not mean that I do not respect the work of earlier Saanen breeders who have worked with the 1922 importation from Holland, indeed I have the greatest respect for them, and my importation of Dutch White goats was for my own use and not meant to belittle earlier Saanen breeders in any way.The Dutch White is an ideal commercial animal with excellent milking qualities which has been exported to many parts of the world.

Enquiries for goats are always welcomed:-
David Will, The Willows, Happisburgh Common, Norwich, NR12 0RT.
Tel: 01692 652266 Mob: 07050093420
Email: info@timyongoats.co.uk