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Dorper sheep were developed by the Department of Agriculture in South Africa in the 1930s as a crossing with a Dorset Horn Ram and Blackhead Persian ewes. The conditions required sheep that could produce fast-growing lambs with a quality carcass, thrive in areas with low rainfall, and have a hearty resistance against cold wind and rain, extremely high summer temperatures, and radiation.


The Beginnings of the Dorper Breed


The Dorper name was first introduced for the breed in 1947 by R.Y. Edmeades, a farm co-operator working with D.J Engela through the Grootfontein Agricultural College. Along with other co-operator farmers in the Karoo region of South Africa, they developed the breed standards.

After decades of refinement, The Dorper Breeders Society was formed in 1950. The American Dorper Sheep Breeders’ Society was formed in 1955.

There are two types of Dorpers: the traditional Dorper which has a white body and black head, and the White Dorper which is a pure white sheep and sometimes referred to as “Dorsian”.

The Dorper is the fastest growing, heaviest-muscled hair sheep breed in the U.S. Dorper carcasses are superior to any other breed of hair sheep. Their superior conformation and shedding characteristics have led to Dorpers, becoming one of the most popular registered breeds of sheep in the U.S.

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