Welcome to the heart of Dorperland – Kenhardt, Northern Cape, South Africal

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 History of the Dorper Breed

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During the 1930’s it became appparent that a new breed was needed when there was a surplus of slaughter sheep. Because of poor carcass quality this surplus could not be absorbed locally or internationally.

Research and experiments were done at agriculture colleges, experimental farms and in co-operation with farmers and the results showed that the Dorset Horn X Blackhead Persian produced the most desired qualities. The DORPER name comes from the Parent Names e.g. DORset Horn Ram + PERsian Ewe = DORPER

The White Dorper Sheep was bred out of the Dorset Horn X Blackhead Persian or the Dorset Horn X Van Rooy Crossbred. At first there were two seperate breed societies but in 1964 the two societies were affiliated.

Outstanding Characteristics of the the Dorper

Lamb (Meat) Production
Adaptability

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The Dorper and White Dorper has been exported from South Africa to numerous countries around the world. The above photos show the Dorper in snow in Canada, sanddunes of the Kalahari in Namibia and on pastures in Scotland.

  • Hardiness
  • Veldt Utilization
  • Dorper Skins which are regarded amongst the best in the world. It has no wrinkles and a smooth grain. It is used in the manufacture of high quality leather clothes and gloves.
  • Good Mothering Abilities
  • Covering is a very important aspect of the Dorper Breed. The Dorper with the correct type of Haircover will be a good shedder. This will help to keep labour costs down.
  • General Appearance of the Dorper appeals to many people.
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The Ideal Dorper Sheep is an animal, which can maintain itself, produce meat and reproduce under sub-optimal conditions

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Breed Standard of Excellence

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Each animal gets evaluated with a description and score by points on visual appearance and performance. This distinguish the degree of excellence of each animal. These values must be a true reflection of the animal

Pointing System

Very Good 5
Above Average 4
Average  3
Poor or Below Average  2
Very Poor with Cull Points  1

We further subdivide the animal into different sections

Conformation B
Size or Growth Rate  G
Distribution of Fat D
Colour Pattern 
P
Covering  H
Type  T

Summary of the Scoring System

Conformation B
Size 
G
Distribution of Fat 
D
Colour Pattern 
P
Covering H
Type  T

Summary of the Scoring System

Conformation Size Distribution of Fat Colour Pattern Covering Type Selection

B

G D P H T ST/S1/S2

4&5

4&5 4&5 3,4&5 3,4&5 4&5 ST

3

3 3 2 2 3 S1

2

2 2 2 2 2 S2
1 1 1 1 1 1 Cull

Breed Standard of Excellence

ST = Stud Animals
S1 = Selection 1 Animals – These are very good commercial animals.
S2 = Selection 2 Animals
Cull = These are animals where functional efficiency is not adequate due to conformation faults or an extreme under one section of the Breed Standards.
Conformation (symbol B):

The following 6 aspects get evaluated under the heading of Conformation.

  • Head
  • Forequarters and neck
  • Barrel
  • Hindquarter
  • Reproductive Organs
  • General Appearance and Balance

The following is an example of a Conformation 5 animal

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Dorper Ram from Constantia Stud – Colene Grevelink

Size or Growth Rate (symbol G):

A sheep with a good weight for its age is the ideal. Discrimiante against expremely large or extremely small animals.

Distribution of Fat ( symbol D):

Too much localisation of fat on any part of the body is undesiralbe. An even distribution of a thin layer of fat over the carcass and between the muscle fibres is the ideal. The sheep must be firm and muscular when handled.

Colour Pattern (symbol H):

P5 is the ideal colour:
A white sheep with black head or head and neck, no further than where it touches the shoulder or breastbone at the front.
Complete pigmentation on anus or reproductive organs is compulsory.

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The following photos are examples of P3 –

This is the last section that still allows colour to qualify for stud.

  • Black limited to head, neck and forequarter.
  • Loose patches on underline limited to 10 cm diameter.
  • A white patch on the head or neck. A white blaze not dividing the black head is allowed.
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P1 consist of the following:

  • Completely white or black sheep – This is in the Dorper and NOT White Dorper
  • Sheep with any other colour than black or white on the body
  • Excessive brown hair around eyes and or on face
  • No pigment on any part where required
  • Blue in one or both eyes
  • Excessive white or brown hair around the eyes extending onto the face

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Colour Pattern of the White Dorper
A white sheep, fully pigmented on the eyelids, under the tail and on the teats is the ideal. A limited number of spots are allowed on the ears and underline.

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P1 is a white sheep with black, brown or other colour speckles or patches on the body or a sheep with blue in one or both eyes.

Covering (symbol H):
H5 – A Short, loose, light mixture of hair and wool with a natural clean kemp underline. The head should be covered in short clean kemp

It is of extreme importance that when Dorper sheep are selected for “Easy Care” attention is given to the correct Hair Cover. Only sheep with H5 and H4 will be good SHEDDERS

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H4 – A short, loose, light covering of hair and wool with wool predominating on the forequarter and with a natural clean underline. Wool is allowed up to the crown of the head. This photo show a H4 sheep on the end with a H3 sheep next to him. Note the wool on the belly of the second sheep.

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H3 – A short, loose covering of predominantly wool or soft fine hair with perceptible kemp on the outer thigh. A soft light mane or apron is allowed. Wool is allowed forward of the crown on the head.

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Examples of H5 and therefore good Shedders

Type (symbol T):

Type is determined by the degree the sheep conforms to the Breed Standards. The general impression must be of good balance, muscling and a vigorous appearance. Masculinity in the ram and femininity in the ewe is important.