Polled Dorset Sheep

The Polled Dorset sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from United States. It was actually developed for meat production at the North Carolina State University Small Ruminant Unit in 1956.

A polled strain of Dorsets were also developed in Australia in the 1900s.

However, these were not as a result of a genetic mutation but resulted from the introduction of Corriedale and Ryeland blood into the Dorset Horn. As the name suggests, the breed is actually a polled or hornless variation of the Horned Dorset breed.

The breed is the result of a genetic mutation by which some of the offspring of a certain ram grew no horns. 4 hornless lambs were sired from a Horned Dorset on a farm at North Carolina State University in Raleigh in 1949.

And a strain of Dorset sheep was created after some years of breeding work, which had lost the characteristic horns and which bred true.

After research and testing were done to confirm that the Polled Dorset carried the same characteristics as the Horned Dorset and was able to pass on these traits.

In the year of 1898, the Continental Dorset Club formed, and the club registered the very first Polled Dorset sheep in 1956. Today the Polled Dorset sheep is very popular in it’s native country.

And it is considered to be the 2nd most popular breed of sheep in the United States. Read some more information about this sheep breed below.

Table of Contents

Polled Dorset Sheep Characteristics

The Polled Dorset sheep are a medium to large sized animal with an all-white coloration. Their carcass are muscular with good conformation and the mature animals produce a thick fleece.

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Their fleece is very white in color, strong, close and free from dark fiber and extends down the legs. Their fleece is free from dark fibers. And the fleece averages between 2.23 and 4 kg when shorn.

Average live body weight of the mature Polled Dorset rams is between 102 and 125 kg. And average live body weight of the mature ewes vary from 67 to 91 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.

Uses

The Polled Dorset sheep are a meat sheep breed. They are raised mainly for meat production.

Special Notes

Polled Dorset sheep are very hardy and strong animals. They are noted for their ability to breed more than once per year and are usually used in crossbreeding for producing females for out-of-season breeding.

And the ewes are highly prolific. They are one of the few sheep breeds that have this characteristic. The Polled Dorset sheep are very good for commercial sheep farming business, and they can also adapt themselves well to confinement.

Multiple births are common in them. They are even suitable for programs where rams are specifically used to sire lambs for slaughter.

These rams are known as terminal sires since their genetics are more suitable for slaughter than breeding purposes. They thrive under grass-based and feedlot conditions and are more suitable on small farms that are intensely managed.

Today the Polled Dorset sheep are very popular in the United States, and they have also spread to Canada.

And the breed has become a major contributor in the commercial lamb industry. However, review full breed profile of the Polled Dorset sheep breed below.

Breed NamePolled Dorset
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeMainly meat
Special NotesVery hardy and strong animals, noted for their ability to breed more than once per year, usually used in crossbreeding, ewes are very prolific and are able to breed out of season, very good for commercial sheep farming business, can adapt themselves well to confinement, multiple births are common, can thrive under grass-based and feedlot conditions, most suitable on small farms, today the breed is one of the most popular sheep breeds in the United States
Breed SizeMedium to large
WeightRams weight between 102 and 105 kg, and mature ewe’s weight vary from 67 to 91 kg
HornsNo
Climate ToleranceNative climates
ColorAll-white
RarityCommon
Country/Place of OriginUnited States

Frequently Asked Questions

People ask many questions about Polled Dorset sheep. Here we are listing the most common questions about this beautiful sheep breed, and trying to answer them. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.

What is polled Dorset?

Polled Dorset is a short-wool, meat producing breed of domestic sheep. It is most commonly used as a terminal sire. The breed contributes high quality carcass traits to the prime lamb industry.

Is Polled Dorset sheep farming profitable?

Yes, commercial production of this sheep breed is a very profitable business. You can start commercial production of these sheep for making good amount of money.

How to start Polled Dorset sheep farming business?

Starting commercial production of these sheep is very easy and simple. You can start this business commercially even if you are a beginner. Here we are listing the steps for starting a commercial production business.

  • First of all, you have to select a very good location for your farm.
  • Then make a good house for your animals.
  • Purchase good quality sheep.
  • Feed them with good quality and nutritious food.
  • Provide them with enough clean and fresh drinking water.
  • Take good care of them.
  • Vaccinate them timely.

What are Polled Dorset sheep used for?

Polled Dorset is meat producing sheep breed, and it is used for commercial meat production.

What is a polled lamb?

Polled lamb and other polled livestock are livestock without horns in species which are normally horned. The term ‘polled’ refers to both breeds and strains that are naturally polled through selective breeding and also to naturally horned animals that have been disbudded.

What type of breed is a Dorset sheep?

The Dorset breed is a mix of several older breeds. Wale’s Horned Sheep and Spanish Merino sheep were crossed to establish the original line. But the Dorset has been around as a distinct breed for years. Today Dorsets can be found in Wales, Dorset, Devon and Somerset.

Does polled mean born without horns?

Actually, polled livestock breeds have been selectively bred to lack horns.

Are the Dorset sheep polled or horned?

There are actually two varieties of Dorset sheep available throughout the world. One is horned and another is polled. This breed is a polled variety.

What is the lifespan of a Dorset sheep?

Actual lifespan of a Dorset sheep can vary depending on numerous factors. But average lifespan of a Dorset sheep can vary from 9-20 years.

Are Dorset sheep good for milk?

No, Dorset is actually a meat producing sheep breed and it is especially good for producing meat. And this breed is not a good choice for milk production.

Why is it called Dorset?

Dorset derives its name from the county town of Dorchester.

Is Dorset a sheep meat or wool?

Dorset is a meat sheep breed and it is raised mainly for meat production purpose.

Why are Dorset sheep important?

The Dorset sheep is renowned for its prolific breeding ability and superior meat quality. This sheep breed is kept primarily for meat production. Nonetheless, it makes decent-quality fleece and produces a respectable amount of milk.

What do you feed Dorset sheep?

The Dorset sheep is just like many other domestic sheep breeds. They are mainly fed on clean grass and hay. You can allow them out on green, growing pasture as they spend majority of their time in grazing.

What are the main characteristics of Polled Dorset sheep?

The Polled Dorset sheep are a medium to large sized animal with an all-white coloration. Their carcass are muscular with good conformation and the mature animals produce a thick fleece.Their fleece is very white in color, strong, close and free from dark fiber and extends down the legs. Their fleece is free from dark fibers. And the fleece averages between 2.23 and 4 kg when shorn. Average live body weight of the mature Polled Dorset rams is between 102 and 125 kg. And average live body weight of the mature ewes vary from 67 to 91 kg.

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