How to Understand the *B, *M, CH, etc. in Your Dairy Goat's Pedigree

MDGA registration paperMany people are confused by all the different symbols, abbreviations and letters on the pedigree of a dairy goat. Most all of them are awards and other accomplishments that the goats have, so it is good to understand them. Many of the different registries have different notations for the same kind of award. I will cover the notations for ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association), AGS (American Goat Society) and MDGA (the Miniature Dairy Goat Association). Many of the other registries share the same notations.

Milk Production Awards - a goat can earn an award based on their production of milk (for a doe) or the production of their parents (bucks only) or the production of their offspring (bucks and does both). Milk production requirements for awards vary from breed to breed and registry to registry, but are usually awarded based on volume, butterfat and protein produced. The awarded 'milk star' or 'production star' is marked as follows:

The buck awards here are all for inherited stars (based on production of parents and grandparents). See below for milk awards they can earn through their offspring.

The milk awards can get a little deeper. A doe who's dam has also earned her star will have '2' preceding her star. This indicates that her dam also earned her star. If the daughter of the 2 star milker also earns her star, she would be a 3 star milker. So a 10 star milker would be a doe who has ten generations of does behind her who have ALL earned their milk stars.

For bucks, there is also a milk award they can earn through their daughters. This is what is called a 'plus' buck noted as follows for the different registries:

Bucks can earn additional pluses based on the number of daughters and their production. Again, the requirements for each award vary from registry to registry.

Championship titles are awarded based on show wins. To earn a Championship title, the goat must win Grand Champion (GCH) 3 times under at least 2 different judges at sanctioned classes. They must also be mature for at least two of those wins (does must have two wins while in milk). Each GCH win is referred to as a 'leg'. The following are how the three registries note the finished championship


When a goat earns both their finished championship AND a milk star, they have the championship title changed slightly:

So, these are even better than the CH and MCH titles. Goats that have earned both milk stars and finished championships are entered into the advanced registry herdbook.

In the MDGA there is another title that can be earned by miniature dairy goats.  This is earned through a virtual show program.  The VCH is earned in the same way as the Championship titles, but instead of live shows, the goats win in virtual shows with pictures. If the animal also has their milk award, the title is VMCH.  See more info on the V-Show program here.

Linear Appraisal (LA) is offered by ADGA and Classification is offered by AGS.  These programs have the goat compared against the 'ideal' goat and given a score based on how closely they conform to the ideal. These scores can often be more helpful than show wins as a show win simply means the goat is better than the other goats at the show. A high appraisal or classification score, means they are close to the ideal dairy goat. LA scores are typically listed as a combination of letters and numbers (EX92 for example is a very good score - the higher the better!) The scoring for LA and classification is a little too complicated to cover in this article, but there is a link below to help you understand the numbers and letters of LA.

SG and SGCH are titles for animals who are a part of the ADGA superior genetics program and the notations indicate that they have met or exceeded certain criteria based on milk production and Linear Appraisal.

Some resources for more information: