The Dorper Connection

Dorpers are the most popular shedding sheep breed in the world and indeed are one of the most widespread and commercially significant sheep in the world.  They are a small African breed that was developed initially by crossing the Dorset Horn with Blackhead Persian sheep in the 1930’s in South Africa.  The name ‘Dorper’ is a coupling of the first syllables of the names of the two parent breeds, namely Dorset Horn and Persian sheep.  The breed was developed by the South African Department of Agriculture with the aim being to produce a meat sheep suitable for raising in the arid regions of South Africa.  It is now farmed in virtually all areas.  Like the Persian, the Dorper sheds its coat in lateSummer and Autumn, is easy to maintain, has a high fertility, good maternal instincts, a good growth rate and a general hardiness.  It has a characteristic black head which it has inherited from the Persian.  More recently White Dorpers that lack the black head have been developed.