Life Span of Large Goats
In my very limited experience I have found my extra large Oberhasli goats are not mobile but a few months after their 10th birthday. Hips and knees degrade with a tipping point of not being able to walk comfortably. All 3 came from the same breeder so it maybe circumstantial. They seem to live very healthy active lives then fall apart over the winter nearing the 10 birthday. Being healthy and active for nearly 10 years and a variety of feed and supplements I have never felt it was a dietary deficiency but I don't know that.
My burning question is what are the experiences of other people with extra large >200 lbs packgoats. The story of Cuzco is well known, he got to be 15, Dwight said he had an extraordinary goat that was in the field at age 20. What is the average? Are my Obers in the zone of expected life spans of packgoats? I sure wish for a longer time in the mountains with them. Do smaller packgoats <190 lbs live longer? Smaller dogs seem to live longer. 
We need to do a poll asking what was the life span of your packgoats over 200 lbs and less than 200 lbs.
Interesting theory. I'll be interested to see what others experience in terms of lifespan. I know miniature horses tend to live longer than full-sized horses.
Anecdotally, I don't believe smaller goats live any longer on average than large ones. There are shorter-lived and longer-lived goats of each size and I've personally not seen any pattern. It seems that for both large and small, ten years old is about when they generally start showing signs of age--tooth wear, slowing down, arthritis, weight loss or gain, skin conditions, parasites, etc. Obviously there are individuals that fall outside the bell curve on either end. Most of them seem to go several years past the decade-mark but they usually have minor ailments that need to be looked after and they may need a higher-calorie diet. None of this is from personal experience since I've only owned one goat to old age so far, but I've observed a lot of aged goats belonging to friends and acquaintances, and I've read a lot of experiences on various goat-related forums and I haven't seen much (or any) difference between larger and smaller goats.

One person to ask would be Clay Zimmerman. He's owned and packed so many goats over the years that he probably has some good insights about the working life of various sizes and body types of goats. One of the trends I'm not so sure I like is the breeding of heavier goats. People boast about a 300 lb. goat, but I tend to think of them like draft horses. They might be able to haul a barn, but they won't be hauling it far or fast, and they probably won't have a long working life. Their own body weight tends to be their undoing. I could be completely wrong about this because I'm carrying over my experience with horses, not with large goats.
I had 4 pack goats who packed with me for many years. They packed until about age 12 and lived to around 13 years old.  In their later years, one was 185#, two were 200#, and one about 240#.  They were all alpines or alpine crosses.   We did a lot of pack trips, usually several each summer were a week long or more.

But I think there is a fair amount of individual variability in how long goats live.
Thanks your input. Just wondering if there is some magic to getting a goat to age 12. I will bring a griddle and offer to flip pancakes for Clay at the Rendy and maybe he will share his secrets with me.
Good conformation to start with--especially in the feet and legs--goes a very long way. Keeping them trim and fit with regular exercise also works in their favor. Using equipment that fits well is also a must. After seeing a bunch of different goats saddled up at a bunch of Rendys now, I'm not convinced that most saddles fit most goats very well. Using an ill-fitting and/or poorly designed saddle causes a goat to move unnaturally, and this will shorten his working years considerably no matter how well-built and willing he is.
so far my largest goat died at age 8 or so from a hereditary conformation issue - something in his knee/back. I write hereditary because I saw the same issue, but less pronounced and much later in life in his way smaller mother and a bit in his smaller twin brother. This one had problems with conformation/hooves since he was a year old and never packed.

Another large wether, who is only a few pounds lighter than the above mentioned wether was, is still fit at age 10. But he has a much better conformation and different parents.

My now oldest goat is 16 but he requires intense pampering since he is 14 years old and is on his last weeks/months. As soon as the leaves get too hard for his worn-out teeth to chew - he will no longer eat soaked hay pellets - his time is come. He also had issues with his hind legs and back - something I see in older dogs sometimes, a rotation/dropping of the croup like Cauda Equina syndrome in dogs - for about two years now.
Sabine from Germany
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