Dragobia Goat

Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

The Dragobia goat is a traditional breed from northeastern Albania; it is found mainly in Dragobia (after which it was named), in Tropoja District. Dragobia goats are black with curved horns. They are about 70 cm tall and 70-76 cm long. The head is 20-24 cm long. They usually live for 3-6 years and are mated for the first time at about 18 months of age. Breeding takes place in September-October, and the kids are born in February-March.

Dragobia goats are reared both for meat and milk production. Fresh meat is obtained mainly from kids aged 2-4 months, but also from adult animals. Meat from kids is produced mainly in May–June, while meat from adult animals is used throughout the year, primarily for the production of dried meat.

These animals are very well adapted to the harsh weather and terrain of the mountains; they are resistant to the cold and very efficient at exploiting a wide range and quality of food resources available in the forests. Dragobia goats are reared in extensive and semi- extensive production systems. the spend the summers free on the pastures, while in winter they live in stables near the herders’ houses and feed on dry grass harvested during the summer. In late may or early june they start migrating back to the mountains together with the herders and their families. In general, men are in charge of the flock, but women are also involved in caring for young animas. Women and children are involved in milking and milk preparation, as these activities take place close to the h

This breed is the result of a long selection process by farmers over the generations. All parts of the Dragobia goat are important, from the horns (which the herders either use as a symbol against the evil eye, placed on the main door of the house or at the gate of the surrounding fence) to the skin (which was generally used as a pad for sitting near the fireplace).
For generations, this goat has been the main source of food for the residents of Tropoja, and is vital to the local economy. Dragobia goat meat and by- products are mainly used within the household or sold at local farmers’ markets, especially on Saturdays. Goat skin is also a source of profit.

The most classic way of cooking Dragobia goat meat is with a sac, a traditional pot covered with a domed lid on which charcoal is placed. This technique makes the meat very tasty and soft. Pastërma is a salt-cured product obtained from the meat of sheep and goats: After being cleaned, large chunks of meat are salted for about 2 weeks and then hung to dry in the air. Before being consumed, pastërma is washed to remove the salt and then boiled. Dragobia goat meat is also processed as mish i thatë (“dried meat”). For this, the animal is butchered, its meat is cut into strips, the strips are salted and then wrapped in goat skin for 24-36 hours so that they can absorb the salt, and then they are hung on a wooden rack and smoked. Finally, they are dried for 10-15 days. The product can be stored for up to 2 years.
Dragobia goats also produces high-quality milk, which is used for the production of different styles of cheese. The cheese is either consumed fresh or aged for winter consumption.

Local goat breeds face competition from French and Spanish alpine goats. Because they yield less milk than foreign breeds, Dragobia goats and many other traditional Albanian breeds are at risk of extinction. Even the practice of raising goats in the mountains is at risk, as young people are abandoning the region.

Back to the archive >




Production area:Tropoja and Has districts

Other info


Breeds and animal husbandry

Nominated by:Dhurata Thanasi