The Dorset Horn sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from United Kingdom. It is mostly known for it’s prolific lambing and good meat production.
It is also known as Dorset Horned or simply as Dorset. It is a pretty old breed and developed from white faced, horned and short wooled sheep that thrived in the sheltered valleys and lush hill pastures of southwestern England. It is probably available from the seventeenth century.
Today the breed is found in many countries around the world. It is known simply as Dorset in the United States.
Exact origins of the Dorset Horn sheep are unknown, but it was probably developed from crossing the tan-faced sheep of Dorset with a Merino-type breed.
It was firmly established by 1892, and the first Flock Book was published. It was widely exported to some countries such as Australasia, South Africa, North America and Australia.
The breed became highly important in Australia. Today the breed is raised mainly for meat production. Read some more information about this sheep breed below.
Dorset Horn Sheep Characteristics
The Dorset Horn sheep are large sized animals. They have stocky white colored face with a thick creamy fleece. They have distinctive pink nose.
As the name suggests, both rams and ewes are generally horned. And the rams have large, spiralled horns.
They have very good body length and muscle conformation for producing a desirable carcass. Fleece of the Dorset Horn sheep is strong, close and free from dark fiber.
Average live body weight of the Dorset Horn ewes is between 70 and 90 kg. And average live body weight of the mature rams vary from 100 to 120 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.
The Dorset Horn sheep is a meat sheep breed. It is raised mainly for meat production.
The Dorset Horn sheep are very hardy and strong animals. They are able to thrive diverse conditions worldwide and usually do well on most types of pasture.
They are very docile animal and are generally easily bucket trained.
The breed is actually known for it’s prolific lambing, and it has been known to produce two lambing seasons per year.
The ewes can produce lambs at up to 10-12 years old, and lambing percentages vary between 140 and 200 percent. Although their lambing percentage depends on management.
The ewes usually have little lambing problems, and the lambs are of medium size.
Fleece of the Dorset Horn sheep on average weight around 2.3 to 4.1 kg with the staple length ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches. And the fiber diameter ranges from 27 to 33 microns.
Today the breed is raised mainly for meat production. However, review full breed profile of this sheep in the following chart.
|Breed Name||Dorset Horn|
|Other Name||Dorset Horned or simply Dorset|
|Breed Purpose||Mainly meat|
|Special Notes||Very beautiful animals, striking appearance and are robust animals, very hardy and strong animals, able to thrive diverse conditions, docile, easily bucket trained, known for prolific lambing, fleece is of pretty good quality|
|Weight||Mature rams live body weight is between 100 and 120kg, and the mature ewe’s body weight vary from 70 to 90 kg.|
|Climate Tolerance||Almost all climates|
|Country/Place of Origin||United Kingdom|