The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the differentiation of goat population in Ethiopia based on husbandry, breeding practices, and morphological traits of goats. Ethiopian goats have long been known for their extensive production methods, which have been reared in all agro-ecological zones. Rather than competing for fodder with cattle and sheep, goats complement them. The major feed resources for goats were natural communal/private pasture, crop residue, local fodder trees, shrubs and browsing, road and riverside and crop aftermath. Good housing is required to protect goat from extreme temperature, disease, theft, to make management easier and controlled breeding. Selection is an important parameter in replacing parents by best performing stocks, which is one of the tools for improvement of genetics. The selection criteria for breeding buck were appearance, coat color, growth rate prolificacy and libido. However; the selection criteria of does were appearance, age at first maturity, twinning ability, milk yield, kid survival, short kidding interval and growth rate, coat color and litter size. High rate of reproductive efficiency of goat is essential for survival, as well as the production of meat, milk, and skin, and the replacement of breeding stock. The major constraints of goat were disease occurrences, feed shortage and drought. Phenotypic characterization is the first step in breeding program design and conservation strategy. This phenotypic characterization includes husbandry practice, way of breeding, reproduction traits and morphological traits. For molecular characterization and genome selection, phenotypic characterization is also used as a source of information. In conclusion goat management practiced in Ethiopia was traditional, kept primarily for income source.
Keywords: Conservation; goat breeding; husbandry practices, phenotypic characterization