The Dorset Breed
Centuries ago, Merino sheep were brought from Spain into southwest England and were crossed with a Welsh meat sheep, which produced a desirable all-purpose sheep -- the Horned Dorset sheep, the ancestors of the present-day Dorset. The result was an all-purpose sheep with medium-soft wool and muscled carcasses.
The ewes are prolific, heavy milkers, known for their maternal traits. But Dorsets are best known for their ability to produce a lamb crop any time during the year.
Horned Dorsets were imported to the states. We currently have one Horned Dorset ewe, which is now considered a rare breed. Back in 1860, a gene mutation developed the Polled Dorset, the dominant type of Dorset sheep by the 1950s.
In the 1970s, the Dorset breed drastically changed again, and two subgroups of Dorsets have emerged, the Show Dorset (which we had until the spring of 2010) and the Production Dorset (which we now raise and prefer). The Show Dorset were created by using Columbiana blood to get the size that you see in show flocks.
Unlike the Show Dorset, the Production Dorset remained the same, retaining the Dorset traits of breeding, prolificacy, true breed type, mothering abilities, milking capacity, and heavy muscling. Today, the Production Dorset are easy-keeping sheep that produce lambs for all seasons and markets, making them one of the most versatile breeds.
And, yes, in our flock, we have one black Border Lester ewe – Ba Ba Black Sheep.
Note: Please note that we are footrot free. Please make sure that you have clean feet and that you wear clothing that has not been around other sheep or livestock. We will ask you to disinfect your shoes and/or wear plastic shoe covers.