Are Llamas Related To Goats? Do They Get Along?

No, llamas and goats are not very closely related. Llamas belong to the Camelidae family while goats belong to the Bovidae. Llamas are closely related to guanaco, alpaca, vicuna, and camels, while goats are closely related to markhors, ibexes, sheep, ibexes, goats, muskox.

Llamas and goats shared a common ancestor some 64 million years ago. 

That’s a lot of time.

Since then, the species had a lot of time to evolve and get even further from one another on the evolutionary tree.

Llamas and goats are both mammals that belong to the same order, the Artiodactyla. Artiodactyls are even-toed ungulates, animals that walk on two of their five toes. 

Artiodactyls include animals like llamas, and goats, but also pigs, hippopotamuses, camels, deer, giraffes, sheep, cattle, etc – so they are related at this level.

But this is where their relations stop as llamas and goats belong to different families.

Llamas got domesticated 6,000-7,000 years ago in South America, while goats got domesticated some 10,000-11,000 years ago in Asia.

are llamas related to goats

Can Llamas Breed With Goats?

Llamas and goats can’t breed. They have different chromosome numbers and are too genetically different to be able to reproduce successfully. Llamas have 74 chromosomes, while goats have 60.

To breed successfully and produce healthy and fertile offspring, only members of the same species can reproduce. 

Goats and sheep managed to successfully interbreed, even though they have a different number of chromosomes. Their physiology is similar enough for it to work. Such offspring are called hybrids. 

There have even been hybrids between camels and llamas (you can read about it here). 

There haven’t been any successful attempts of matings between llamas and goats – they are too distant to create hybrids.

Do Llamas Get Along With Goats?

Llamas are very social animals that love bonding with other creatures such as sheep or goats. They will accept them as their herd, live together in harmony, and protect them against predators like foxes and coyotes. 

For their relationship to work, a careful introduction is needed, if possible when the goats are still babies. Llamas are very gentle with kids (yes, baby goats are called kids). 

baby goat sleeping

If a baby goat is separated from its herd for some reason (sickness or behavior), a llama will approach it and lay next to it to keep it company.

And if your sheep or goats have suffered because of coyotes, you would definitely want to get a guardian llama. 

Llamas are territorial animals, have a strong herding instinct, and if they bond properly with livestock, they will keep them safe. They are natural guards and do not require too much training for their role.

Their long necks, keen ears, and sharp eyesight allow them to spot an intruder from afar. To protect their bucks and does, they will lead the herd to safety, stand in front of the coyote, and run at it. They will also make a very loud sound, a “warrior cry” to warn everyone.

Llamas seem to have a personal vendetta against these animals and will try to bite, kick, or spit at them to chase them away. 

However, you should be warned, not all llamas are nice to smaller livestock animals.

Male Llamas Might Be Mean To Goats

llama watching over a baby goat

This usually happens with male guardian llamas, especially uncastrated ones. 

Such males will sometimes try to mate with the goat and in the process smother or seriously injure the animal.

You might want to place a female llama that either already had a cria or is an adult guardian llama. They have the natural nurturing instincts of a mother and usually bond quickly to the animals they are guarding. 

You should not breed your female guardian llama as it will shift its attention from the animals it is supposed to protect to its baby. 

Take your time to analyze and select your llama as a guard and remember that the first line of defense against predators is ALWAYS good fencing. 

Read More: 13+ places to buy a pygmy goat in Ohio

No, alpacas, just like llamas, are not closely related to goats. They are both even-toed ungulates but belong to different families. Goat’s closest relatives are markhors and ibexes. The alpaca’s closest relatives are llamas, guanacos, and vicunas.

Read More: Animals that look like llamas (photos included)

Final Thoughts

This concludes our article going over the question “are llamas related to goats”.

Llamas and goats had a common progenitor 64 million years ago. Since then, the two animals grew apart on the taxonomic tree. They are not close relatives and belong to different families.

If introduced properly, llamas make excellent guard animals for goats. They will keep them safe from coyotes and foxes, and bond with them.

References:

[1] Jiang, Yu, et al. “The sheep genome illuminates biology of the rumen and lipid metabolism.” Science 344.6188 (2014): 1168-1173.

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