Mini-goat is a term much misunderstood by the American Public. Mini-goats are relatively new. They are created by crossing a Nigerian Dwarf Goat (very small goats) with some other type of standard breed. A mini-dairy goat is a Nigerian dwarf that has been crossed with one of the six standard dairy breeds — La Mancha, Oberhasli, French Alpine, Sanaan, Toggenberg, or Nubian. Thus, there are mini-la manchas, mini-oberhaslies, etc. Mini-goats have the benefit of providing large quantities of milk and not needing a lot of space.
It is often assumed that the terms “pygmy goat” and “mini-goat” are interchangeable. Pygmy goats (more accurately, African Pygmies) are small goats that were developed for meat, so they are a bad choice for anyone who wants to milk a little goat.
A note on Nigerian Dwarves: Nigerians can be excellent milk goats. However, because they are so cute, many people have begun to breed them as pets, so certain lines have lost some of their good dairy qualities. If you get a Nigerian, make sure that the people who bred her are are serious about their herd’s milk production.