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Group Classes Explained

By Karen Goodchild, OK Doe K Dairy

Often exhibitors will see “Group Classes” being offered at State Fairs and Specialty Shows. This can be a bit confusing on what and how to enter.

One rule is that any animal entered in the Group Class must also have been judged in the show. That means an animal that did not present in the age class in front of that judge is not eligible to enter a Group Class. Awards have been stripped from animals that were in a Group Class and not presented in the age class in the show.

Many classes can be offered to Juniors, Seniors, and Bucks.

The Show will decide whether all animals shown must be owned solely by the Exhibitor or if animals can be loaned from another Exhibitor.

“AGS leaves the numbers in group classes up to most shows/fairs,” Amy Kowalik of AGS said.

Group Classes can either be free to exhibitors that showed in the open class or charged an additional fee.

Both the American Dairy Goat Association and American Goat Society have similar rules on composition of a Group Class.

Group Classes are not necessarily “The Best” animals at the show, but ones that display uniformity and consistently strong traits within a breeding program. Avoid animals with the same weakness.

An animal that placed middle in a strong class may be of a better type that one who placed high in a weak class. Age and maturity usually has an advantage.

A Produce of Dam Class can be a Milking Doe and her Dry Daughter or vice versa. This will not be as strong as two milking does.

“A breeder's trio is just that—3 does bred by one breeder—it is up to the show to say if they have to also be owned by just that breeder. Normally that is not required so if someone else has one of your animals you can use them to comprise the class,” Kowalik said.

“Get” classes give consideration to the number of dams represented in the group. Conversely, the number of Sires in a “Produce of Dam” class is noted. Triplets or repeat breedings are not as strong a representation in a Group Class.

With a Produce or Get Class, progeny displaying better traits than the Dam or Sire will place better than carbon copies.

Dairy Herd is not judged on milk production, but uniformity, type, mammary system, and the ability to sustain production over a lifetime.

“Most often the dairy herd consists of, and must have a minimum of, 4 but can be more,” Kowalik said. “Some state fairs do 5 or more and call it a State Dairy Herd Class.” She said most breeders want this class to be their herd name but some show rules allow an animal that has been shown in the open classes and owned by the exhibitor to be a part of a group of 4 as part of an exhibitor’s dairy herd.

Group classes are not required for Specialty, but suggested.

The American Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Association offers one Specialty Show for ADGA and one Specialty Show for AGS in each District annually. Submissions are taken October 1—March 31.

ANDDA Specialty Show Application is here.


ADGA Description

AGS Description

Dairy Herd

All owned by same person/herd

Up to show to determine owned/bred

Produce of Dam

All with same Dam

3 animals with same Dam

Breeder's Trio

All bred by same person/herd

All bred by same breeder

Dam & Daughter or Son & Sire

Direct progeny

Direct progeny

Get of Sire

All with same Sire

3 animals with the same Sire; can have a "Doe Get" class with at least one in milk

Best Pair


Any two selected by Exhibitor



5 does by at least 3 members of the same Club or Chapter

State Herd


8 animals by 5 exhibitors from the same State

AGS J.C. Lincoln Dairy Herd Award


4 or more dairy herds of 4 or more does with 4 or more owners

Copyright July 2022 Newsletter

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