The study was aimed at identifying the pathogens causing subclinical udder infections in representative Israeli dairy goat herds and determining their effect on milk quality. Five hundred goats in ten flocks of various breeds and crossbreeds were surveyed. Of the 500 goats, 13·4% were in their first lactation, 36·4% were in their second lactation and 50·2% were in their third or higher lactation. Percentages of udder halves with subclinical intramammary infection in the flocks ranged from 35 to 71%. The effect of the bacteriological infection on somatic cells count (SCC) was significant (P<0·001). Various species of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS), mainly Staphylococcus caprae and Staphylococcus epidermidis, were the main pathogens in infected udder halves. Lactation number did not significantly influence either infection rate of udder halves or SCC, although the percentage of udder halves with no bacteriological findings was higher at the first lactation than at the third lactation. Milk composition (fat, protein and lactose) varied among flocks, with lower mean total protein in uninfected halves than in infected ones and higher lactose in uninfected than infected halves.