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THE  STORY OF PBA - A Story of Fluff

Katharine Jorgensen, Founder

Have you ever sat down and made a list of the things you would like in a pet? Being an organizational fanatic, I did way back in the ‘80’s. I wanted it to be easy to care for, healthy, friendly, able to live outside, not too big and, above all, fuzzy and cute. On top of all this, I wanted it to produce something I could sell because that way it could help earn its own food.

My husband looked at my list when I got done and figured he was pretty safe. No animal on the planet could ever meet the requirements. For once, I proved him wrong, thanks in part to a recommendation from our veterinarian, Dr. Randall Haveman, we became owned by a herd of Pygoras.

Just how did these cute, fuzzy, hardy little animals come about? They were first created by Katharine Jorgensen of Oregon City, Oregon. Although Katharine was a National Pygmy Goat Association Pygmy breeder and a 4-H Pygmy goat judge, she loved fiber. Because she enjoyed spinning, knitting, and weaving, it wasn’t surprising that on a trip through an Indian reservation in the southwest some longhaired colored goats wowed her. She wanted to make colored mohair.


Katharine Jorgensen


Katharine and Jerry Jorgensen and their llama, Hummer

She already raised Pygmies, but their colored, cashmere-like undercoat was too short to use. Her solution was to breed her NPGA pygmy does to an AAGBA angora buck. She just knew she would get long, colored mohair. What she got were white, fluffy kids whose fleece wasn’t like true mohair or true cashmere. It had properties of both types of fiber. After a couple of generations, she started getting color. She also noticed three distinct fiber types, a type “A” goat that produces fiber like kid mohair, a type “B” goat that produces fiber that is a blend of mohair and cashmere, and a type “C” or cashmere like fiber.  Katharine was quite proud that a commercial cashmere processing company was happy to buy her “C” fleece as cashmere. She also noticed that Pygoras kept producing kid mohair even into their teens.

Her enthusiasm for her new creation was contagious and everyone who bred for the cross noticed that the goats bred true. She knew she had a new breed and it needed a name. She considered calling them “Homestead Goats”, because they were large enough to produce fleece, meat, milk, and pelts. In the end she decided to combine the name of the two parent breeds and invented the word Pygora. So in 1987 the Pygora Breeders Association was started with 10 members. Next, in order to track genealogy and breed for consistent traits, she started a registry and a newsletter. Then in the 1990, when she felt she had seen enough Pygoras, she put together a committee to write breed standards and by-laws for the Pygora Breeders Association. Serving on that committee was Dr. Kay Orlando, a veterinarian, Sonia Hall, Marilyn Moore, and Chris Utterback. Right from the start, Katharine knew how important the breed standards were. She wanted to emphasize good conformation, hardiness, and natural kidding. She also wanted to make sure people didn’t turn this useful animal, that produced lots of fiber each year, into a pure pet that was too small to kid on its own and only produced small amounts of fiber. She insisted on a minimum height requirement and no maximum height. Her view was “more is better”. To keep breed purity, she insisted on allowing goats into the Pygora herdbook from only two well-established registries, the American Angora Goat Breeder’s Association and the National Pygmy Goat Association. Since AAGBA goats must be white, Pygora colors were limited to white and those found in the Pygmy. Soon after the breed standards were done, a Judge’s Training Manual and test were created by a committee of Katharine, Mary Jane Ontiveros, and Chris Utterback. Then the first PBA sanctioned judges were licensed. Since then the manual has been reviewed twice and updated once. Serving on those committees were Jackie Liner, Jill Gallagher, Fran Bishop, Lisa Roskopf, Lisa Zietz, and Chris Utterback.


Katharine Jorgensen and one of her Pygora goats

Katharine is a very interesting and knowledgeable person. She worked as a teacher and librarian when not out tending goats. She is also a wonderful artist. She moved her farm, Misty Meadows, to the dry of New Mexico where she now lives with her husband Jerry, a few Pygoras and a llama.

Since the beginning, PBA has had many dedicated volunteers who worked behind the scenes, donating time and money to help get the word out about Pygoras. Currently we have many very active committees but there is room for you.

PBA Mission Statement

The Pygora Breeders Association (PBA) is dedicated to the advancement and well-being of the Pygora goat. PBA provides leadership in the promotion of the Pygora as a fleece producing animal, pet, and companion nationwide. We encourage ethical practices that will contribute to the long term expansion of the Pygora market. We offer social, business and educational opportunities to our members, and provide educational materials to FFA and 4-H.

 

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Last modified: March 16, 2013

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