The aim of this study was to evaluate the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of down fibre production and of the percentage of active hair follicles in several genetic types of Italian goats. The trial was carried out in two regions of southern Italy, Basilicata and Calabria. Two hundred and eighty adult female goats of five different genetic types were used in this study: the Azzara population, the Nicastrese population, the Red Syrian breed, the Garganica breed and the Calabrese population. A significant effect of genetic type was noted on cashmere diameter, standard deviation of cashmere diameter, yield, down length, guard hair length, crimps, secondary and active primary hair follicles. Calabrese goats presented the lowest fibre diameter values (13.03 mm) while the highest diameter was recorded in the Red Syrian breed (13.88 mm). Cashmere yield was higher in the Calabrese (9.6%), Nicastrese (9.1%) and Red Syrian (7.7%) than in the other genetic types. Cashmere length values were significantly higher in the Nicastrese (31 mm) and Calabrese (30 mm) groups than in Azzara and Garganica groups. Guard hair length was lowest in the Azzara population (88 mm) and highest in the Garganica breed (233 mm). Active secondary follicles were higher in the Calabrese, Azzara and Nicastrese (57.9%, 51.5%, 43.9%) goats compared to the Red Syrian and Garganica groups. The proportion of active primary follicles was similar in Azzara, Nicastrese and Calabrese goats, and it was lower than in the Red Syrian and Garganica breeds.