Goitered gazelles are generally sandy in color, however, the fur color may vary depending on location. They can be white to brown with shades of grey, red, and yellow. Their face is usually white and fades with age. These gazelles have a short, dark brown or black in color tail. During the winter their coat becomes thicker and lighter in color. Goiter gazelles get their name from the goiter-like enlargement on the throat of the males during the mating season. Another meaning of their name is "full below the throat". Males in this species are larger than females and have larger goiters. In general, females are hornless.
Goitered gazelles are found in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, possibly parts of Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, India, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and in northwest China and Mongolia. These gazelles live in deserts and semi-deserts, gravel plains, limestone plateau, grasslands, shrublands and in mountain valleys.
Goitered gazelles are social animals. During summertime, they live in small family groups consisting of 2-9 individuals. However, in winter, they gather in larger herds and migrate to valleys where the cold and winds are not so strong. During this time herds cover up to 10-30 km per day. Goitered gazelles are diurnal creatures. In summer they prefer to feed in the early morning and in the afternoon. In order to cool themselves during the heat of the day, they dig and lay in shallow pits. During cold periods of time, they may forage continuously and rest briefly at midday. In areas where these gazelles can be hunted, they can become nocturnal. When Goitered gazelles feel threatened, they make a series of stiff-legged jumps. When they run at high speeds, they gallop holding their necks outstretched and tails upright. In order to communicate with each other, Goitered gazelles use deep grunts, hissing, moos and wheezing. Females make hoarse, low-pitched sounds to call their young and calves to respond to them with a low-pitched “moo”. During breeding season, males are heard by their impressive low, basal wheezing sound which can be heard up to 160-240 km away.
Goitered gazelles are polygynous, which means that one male mates with more than one female during the breeding season. When the mating season comes, females and young gather into herds, while adult males remain solitary. Goitered gazelles breed in November through January. During this time males become very territorial; they guard and mark their territories with dung, urine, and with secretions from preorbital glands. The also may scrape the ground with their horns or forelegs. Males attract females with the help of courtship rituals which include neck stretching, nose-up posturing, and foreleg kicking. They may also release pheromones. Pregnant females leave the herd before giving birth. The gestation period lasts around 5 or 6 months. Females usually give birth to twins; young and old females generally have a single calf. Newborns are fully developed and can stand soon after birth. For the first 2 weeks, calves lie hidden in a covered with vegetation place while their mother forages nearby. They are nursed within 3-6 months but are able to forage and drink water when they are 4-6 weeks old. Calves are weaned at 6 months of age and become completely independent from their mother. Females become reproductively mature at 5-12 months of age, while males reach reproductive maturity when they are 10-12 months old.
Goitered gazelles are threatened by illegal hunting and the loss of their habitat. They are hunted for meat and for trophies. These gazelles lose their habitat because of development, conversion to agriculture; they also have to compete with increasing numbers of domestic livestock for grazing areas. In Central Asia, Goitered gazelles suffer from severe winter weather.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of Goitered gazelles is around 42,000-49,000 mature individuals. There are estimated populations of the species in the following areas: in Azerbaijan - 4,000-6,000 animals; in Iran - around 20,000 animals. Currently, Goitered gazelles are classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and their numbers today are decreasing.
Goitered gazelles affect the ecosystem of their habitat due to their herbivorous diet as they graze on various types of plants. They may also affect local predator populations.