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New Zealand: Rare
Importation: 2001

Dorper Sheep

A Rare Breed of South African Origin

Dorpers (Photo by Michael Trotter)
Black-headed Dorpers, North Canterbury (Photo by Michael Trotter)

      An extremely recent arrival from South Africa is the Dorper, billed as the ultimate mutton breed. Hardy and adaptable to a wide range of conditions, it is noted for its fertility – and like the » Dorset Horn which was one of its progenitors, it can lamb twice yearly, producing lambs with an extremely fast growth rate. It is also possessed of a self-shedding fleece.

Dorper lambs with Coopworth and Romney ewes
Dorper lambs with Coopworth and Romney embryo recipient ewes, Cornwall Park
(Photo by Grant Latimer)

      Dorpers were developed in South Africa in the 1950s and come in two varieties – the black-headed (Dorset Horn x Persian) and white-headed (Dorset Horn x van Rooey). Embryos of purebred Dorpers were imported from Australia in February 2001 and purebred Dorper rams are also used as terminal sires – producing fine first-cross lambs.

The Rare Breeds Conservation Society thanks Grant Latimer of Cornwall Park Stud for assistance with this page.

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