The chamois is a mid-sized bovid. A fully grown chamois reaches a height of 28–31 inches and measures 42–54 inches long. Males, which weigh 66–132 lbs, are slightly larger than females. Both males and females have short, straightish horns which are hooked backwards near the tip, the horn of the male being thicker. In summer, the fur has a rich brown color which turns to a light grey in winter. Distinct characteristics are white contrasting marks on the sides of the head with pronounced black stripes below the eyes, a white rump, and a black stripe along the back.
Chamois are naturally distributed in the Pyrenees, the mountains of south and central Europe, Turkey, and the Caucasus in Asia. They live at moderately high altitudes and are adapted to living in precipitous, rugged, rocky terrain. They can be found at elevations of at least 11,800 feet. In Europe, Chamois spend their summers above the tree line in meadows. When winter rolls around, they go to lower elevations, of around 2,600 feet, to live in forests, mainly in areas dominated by pines.