Dorper Sheep Characteristics, Origin & Uses Info

The Dorper sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from South Africa. It was developed in the 1930s by crossing Blackhead Persian and Dorset Horn sheep.

It was actually created through the efforts of South African Department of Agriculture for developing a meat sheep breed suitable to the more arid regions of South Africa.

Currently the Dorper sheep is the second most common sheep breed in the country, and it is also raised in some other countries as well.

Other sheep breeds such as the Van Rooy are also believed to have contributed to the development of the White Dorper sheep breed.

Name of the breed ‘Dorper‘ is a coupling of the first syllables of the parent sheep breeds the Dorset and Persian.

The Dorper Sheep Breeders Society of South Africa was founded in 1950. Today the breed is raised mainly for meat production. Read some more information about this South African sheep breed below.

Dorper Sheep Characteristics

The Dorper sheep are medium sized animals. They are mainly white in coloration with black face, but some animals can also be of black color.

The breed is actually well known for it’s thick, well muscled carcass and extended period of fertility.

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They have wool in addition to hair covering their bodies, but they don’t need to be sheared. Both rams and ewes are usually polled. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


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

Special Notes

The Dorper sheep are very hardy animals. They are well adapted to a variety of climatic and grazing conditions. They are also well suited to survive in the arid extensive regions of South Africa.

The ewes are highly fertile and have very good maternal instinct, combined with high growth rates and hardiness. The lambing percentage is around 150 percent in the native country, and also can reach 160 percent.

Today the breed is raised mainly for meat production. The lambs on average weight around 36 kg within their 100 days of age.

The Dorper sheep reputably do very well in various range and feeding conditions and are also suited to intensive feeding. It is actually an easy-care breed which requires minimal input of labor.

Today the breed is also available in many countries outside it’s native area. It has gained much popularity mainly because of it’s resiliency and hardiness. However, review full breed profile of this breed in the following chart.

Breed NameDorper
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeMainly meat
Special NotesVery hardy and strong animals, well adapted to a variety of climatic and grazing conditions, well suited to survive in the arid extensive regions of South Africa, ewes are highly fertile and have good maternal instinct, high growth rate, lambs reach around 36 kg within their 100 days of age, easy to care for, requires minimal input of labor, very good for meat production
Breed SizeMedium
Climate ToleranceAlmost all climates
ColorMainly white, and also black
Country/Place of OriginSouth Africa

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