Concentrations of the single-chain polypeptide hormone prolactin (PRL) are associated with wool or cashmere traits, and its seasonal changes may determine patterns of enzymatic activity and may affect cashmere fibre growth and moult. So, the PRL gene is a potential candidate gene for cashmere traits in marker-assisted selection (MAS). In this paper, we report a novel missense single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the goat PRL gene in 1367 individuals by PCR-SSCP (polymerase chain reaction with single-strand conformation polymorphism) analysis and DNA sequencing. The novel X76049:g.576C>A mutation is confirmed by Eco24I PCR-RFLP (restriction fragment length polymorphism) analysis and causes a missense codon (Pro176Thr). The frequencies of allele C varied from 0.79 to 0.93 in 9 analysed goat populations. C allele was correlated with higher fibre length (P = 0.014).