Blackhead Persian Sheep Characteristics, Origin & Uses

The Blackhead Persian sheep is a breed of domestic sheep which was originated from South Africa. It is a fat-tailed breed and raised mainly as a meat sheep breed for meat production.

It is also known as Swartkoppersie. The breed is a direct descendant of the Somali sheep and is originally from Somalia (actually from the Somali inhabited areas of the Horn of Africa).

It is also a type of hair sheep breed, that means these animals do not grow wool. And they can tolerate heat better than wool sheep breeds.

The Blackhead Persian sheep actually originated from Somalia, despite it’s name. It was imported into South Africa in about 1870. In the year of 1906, a South African studbook was set up, and there were around 4000 registered animals by 1930.

The breed was crossbred with local sheep breeds and also was improved by crossing it with such sheep breeds as the Dorper.

There were estimated to be 2 million Blackhead Persian sheep in South Africa in the 1950s. These animals have also been introduced to Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

The Blackhead Persian sheep breed has also been imported into the Caribbean region, Central and South America for cross-breeding purposes.

It is recognized as an official breed by the Brazilian Sheep Breeder’s Association. Today the breed is raised mainly for meat production. However, read some more information about this sheep breed below.

Blackhead Persian Sheep Characteristics

The Blackhead Persian sheep are small to medium sized animals. They are mainly white in coloration.

But as the name suggests, their head is of black color. Their ears are long and pendulous, and the neck is also black.

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The rump and the base of the tail have an accumulation of fat. Both rams and ewes are generally polled. Both rams and ewes weight around 2.6 kg at birth.

Average live body weight of the mature Blackhead Persian rams is around 68 kg. And the mature ewe’s average live body weight is around 52 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The Blackhead Persian sheep is a meat sheep breed. It is raised mainly for meat production.

Special Notes

The Blackhead Persian sheep are well adapted to their local climates. Previously they were bred mainly for the large quantity of fat stored in the tail region which gave resilience in arid conditions and which was prized for cooking.

The ewes are pretty good mothers, and they lactate for approximately 84 days. They produce around 50 kg of milk in their lactation period, and their milk contain around 5.9 percent fat.

Average litter size was 1.08 in the Caribbean region. Today these animals are raised mainly for meat production. However, review full breed profile of the Blackhead Persian sheep in the following chart.

Breed NameBlackhead Persian
Other NamesSwartkoppersie
Breed PurposeMeat
Special NotesWell adapted to local climates, previously breed mainly for the large quantity of fat stored in the tail region, the ewes are pretty good mothers, produce enough milk for their lambs, milk is of good quality containing around 5.9 percent fat, average litter size is 1.08, today raised and prized for meat production
Breed SizeMedium
WeightMature ram’s average body weight is around 68 kg, and the mature ewe’s average live body weight is around 52 kg.
Climate ToleranceNative climates
ColorWhite with black face
Country/Place of OriginSouth Africa

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