The Dorper, from England to South Africa and back!
Dorpers were created in South Africa in 1942, by crossing imported Dorset Horn rams with Persian Black-headed ewes, thus creating a hardy, prolific, milky breed with excellent vigour and maternal traits.
A breed standard and society were set up in 1950 and it is from these standards that the modern Dorper sheep has derived. Along the way white sheep were produced, which in turn understandably became White Dorpers. A breed society for White Dorpers was recognised in 1959, but eventually both variants came under a single society.
Dorper sheep worldwide
Dorpers can now be found all over the world and are very popular in North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as well as many European countries.
The first group of Dorpers brought into the UK were imported in 2004 from New Zealand, by Mrs Bernadette Dowling. These were followed by various imports of embryos, originally from New Zealand, with others from Canada later, and more recently from Australia along with semen imports. There have also been animals imported from Germany – the Dorper is a very young breed in the UK, and will no doubt differ slightly in the future compared to its South African descendants.
The return of exported genetics in a new breed – the Dorper
It is, however, quite ironic to think that genetics exported from the UK 70 years ago might have found their way back in a new breed. For a great article on the history of the Dorper, visit the South African Dorper Society history page – click here.
When purchasing pedigree stock always check that the animal matches the details on the certificate - if no certificate is available take note of all ear numbers and contact the Registrar to check if the animal is registered before you purchase.