The LaMancha is a type of dairy goat noted for its apparent lack of, or much reduced, external ears. The LaMancha goat is medium in size, and is also noted for a generally calm, quiet, and gentle temperament.
The LaMancha goat was developed in the 1930s in Oregon by Eula F. Frey when she crossed some short-eared goats believed to have Spanish blood in them with her outstanding Swiss and Nubian Bucks. The LaMancha has excellent dairy temperament, and is an all-around sturdy animal that can withstand a great deal of hardship and still produce. Through official testing this breed has established itself in milk production with high butterfat.
The LaMancha face is straight, with ears being the distinctive breed characteristic. A Roman nose, that is typically a characteristic of a Nubian goat, is considered a moderate to serious breed defect of the LaMancha goat.
The LaMancha goat is typically a good 4H show goat. The LaMancha goat comes in just about any color.
Any color or combination of colors is acceptable with no preferences. The hair is short, fine and glossy.
LaMancha goats do have ears; that is to say an auditory canal and other internal structures. It is the pinna that is visibly shrunken. It is not usually possible to use ear tags or ear tattoos for identification of individual LaMancha goats. Tattoos are normally placed on the tail web.
There are two types of LaMancha ears. In does, neither type of ear has an advantage over the other. The two types are described as follows:
Gopher ear: The external ear is very small and appears to be ‘shriveled’. There is no fold and the external ear must not exceed 1 inch (2.5 cm). This is the only type of ear which will make bucks eligible for registration.
Elf ear: An approximate maximum length of 2 inches is allowed. The end of the ear must be turned up or turned down, and cartilage shaping the small ear is allowed. LaManchas with a fold exceeding the allowed length cannot be registered as purebred animals.
The rather small ears on LaManchas make them a unique goat breed. However, it is possible to breed the small ear ‘out of them’. The reason only gopher eared bucks are allowed to be registered is because two ‘elf’ eared animals bred together can create an erect (normal) eared kid. Some breeders prefer the gopher ears on all of their animals, but the type of ear is purely cosmetic.