About the breed

The Dorset Horn sheep is one of the earliest recorded breeds of British Sheep with the first Flock Book being established in 1892, and its adaptability was soon recognised world wide.

The Australians, noted for their shepherding skills, soon realised the potential of the sheep to improve their existing stock and imported the Dorset Horn. With their vast acreage and minimal management techniques the viability of producing a hornless Dorset was of prime interest. This, they achieved and the Poll Dorset emerged to provide the sheep now so much in demand throughout the world.

In the mid 1950s a far sighted Dorset breeder, “Bunny” Lenthall, decided to investigate the potential of the Poll Dorset and, after a visit to Australia, returned with two stud rams. In the UK the Poll Dorset now out numbers its illustrious ancestor but all the attributes of the Dorset Horn still apply to both.

Today, the breed has moved on retaining all the same characteristics but is assisted by up-to-date techniques of record keeping such as that provided by Signet.

The Association’s first Patroness in 1892 was Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, and with this strong foundation it has grown world wide to promote the breed internationally via shows and the media to maintain the breed’s profile.

These are challenging times indeed for the flock master who has to face increased costs and lower profit margins. What can we do to protect our interests and face the future with hope?

The obvious answer is to look for a breed of sheep that will improve profit margins, reduce overheads and fit in with other farming enterprises. Ideally it should be prolific, easy to handle, hardy, versatile, able to breed at any time of the year and not reliant on a high level of additional nutrition.

If you are looking for a sheep that is adaptable to any climate or altitude, with a fleece that many breeds would like to aspire to, then this is your sheep. The sheep will provide a regular cash flow by producing lambs frequently, if you wish, three times in two years. It has an economically produced carcass sought after by the retailer and housewife, whose discerning taste is the ultimate challenge.

If you prefer cross breeding, choose a ewe or ram that will pass many of the above characteristics on to its first cross females, hence improving your profit margins on your existing stock.

If this is your aim, then look no further than the Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset Sheep. The Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset Sheep Breeders’ Association goes from strength to strength towards new frontiers, promoting the ultimate breed in the twenty first century.

The Annual May Fair is the premier Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset Sale when a large selection of top quality rams and ewes are available. The Fair takes place in May over a two day period with the Show on the first day and the Sale on the second day and provides the spectator with a view of the best stock available. All the sheep entered in the Show are subsequently sold through the ring on the second day.

Many of the Association’s breeders are involved in Registered Health Schemes for Maedi Visna and Scrapie Monitored Negative Accreditation and are able to provide stock for the home or export market.

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