The Angora goat originated in the district of Angora (present day Ankara, the capital of Turkey) in Anatolia. The Angora dates back prior to early biblical history. Mohair became a valuable product in commerce early in the nineteenth century. In order to increase the supply of mohair available for export to the European countries, the Turks crossed the Angora goat with common stock to increase the poundage of salable hair. There was probably no effort to keep the original Angora separate, and the general increase in size and vigor of the goats in the Angora area was, no doubt, partially the result of this infusion of other blood. The Angora is very picturesque animal in which both sexes are horned. The bucks usually have a pronounced spiral to the horn, which comes back and away from the head; the horns of mature bucks sometimes reach two or more feet in length. In contrast, the horn of the female is comparatively short, much smaller, and has only a very slight tendency to spiral. The horn of the female seldom exceeds nine or ten inches. The ears are heavy and drooping.
The most valuable characteristic of the Angora as compared to other goats is the value of the mohair that is clipped. The mohair is very similar to wool in chemical composition but differs from wool in that it is has a much smoother surface and very thin, smooth scale. Consequently, mohair lacks the felting properties of wool. It is a strong fiber that is elastic, has considerable luster, and takes dye very well.
Angora stock was distributed to different countries, and a pair of Angoras was imported to Europe by Charles V about 1554. In 1765 an importation was made by the Spanish government and twenty years later a considerable number were imported into France. None of these importations were successful in establishing mohair production. On the other hand, Angoras were taken to South Africa in 1838, and from this importation and later importations mohair production was established in that country. The top mohair producers in the world are Turkey, U.S.A. and South Africa.
Some selected examples (please click on pictures to enlarge):