The Jonica and Maltese Goat Breeds Reared in Different Regions of Italy

  • Davide De Marzo
  • Francesco Nicastro


This chapter addresses Italian Jonica and Maltese Goat Breeds description and their exploitation in grazing systems particularly. The Jonica breed derives from a local population of the Ionian Arc area that has been repeatedly crossed with the Maltese breed. This medium to large size breed has been reared and crossed above all in southern Italy. It is characterized by a white (sometimes pinkish) coat, with possible dark spots or more or less extensive patches on the head and neck. Jonica goat is suitable for milking, with an average milk production of 240 L per lactation, and an average content of 3.4% fat and 3.4% protein. The Maltese breed’s distant origins are in the middle-eastern Mediterranean, and it has been reared and crossed in Italy, particularly in the islands (Sicilia and Sardinia) and southern regions of the mainland Italy. Maltese has a white coat, with possible black patches, and the head has more or less extensive black patches. It is particularly suitable for milk production, and official data report an average production of 354 L of milk per lactation, with an average content of 3.5% fat and 3.5% protein. Due to current better management of breeding and production strategies, the use of goats can allow the resumption of local micro-economies; the typical quality products obtained (milk, cheeses, meat, and meat products) today are among those most in demand by consumers. Given the social, economic, environmental, and cultural possibilities of goat breeding using the extensive system, it can be concluded that this type of activity can still be an economically viable and environmentally positive business choice in the era of globalization and e-commerce.



The authors wish to thank Mr. Giuseppe Forese, from the Regional Association of Pugliese Breeders (A.R.A.), who gently gave the photos of Maltese goats. We wish to thank also Mr. Filippo Bellosguardo, from the Regional Association of Pugliese Breeders (A.R.A.), and to Mr. Felice Giovine who gently ceded the photos of Jonica goats. This latter also gently ceded the Mr. Enrico Bambocci’s photo prizewinner at the Venice Exhibition in 1899.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Agro Ambientali e TerritorialiUniversità degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”BariItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento dell’Emergenza e dei Trapianti di Organi, Sezione di Cliniche Veterinarie e Produzioni Animali (DETO)Università Degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro”BariItaly

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