The Dorper is a South African breed of domestic sheep developed by crossing Dorset Horn and the Blackhead Persian sheep. The breed was created through the efforts of the South African Department of Agriculture to breed a meat sheep suitable to the more arid regions of the country.
Characteristics of the Dorper include:
- Adaptability to and hardiness for a variety of climatic and grazing conditions.
- High fertility and reproduction rates.
- High growth rates with the ability to achieve maximum growth from little feed.
- Good muscling and low fat scores – excellent for the domestic and export trade.
- Thick quality skin for protection in harsh climate conditions.
- Shedding of wool and hair according to seasonal conditions.
- Excellent mothering qualities and milk production.
- Low maintenance – minimal shearing required if any, flystrike resistant, no mulesing required at all.
Dorpers are known as a low maintenance, easy care breed which can adapt easily to a variety of conditions, are non-selective graziers and are one of the only breeds that thrive in harsh conditions.
The Dorper is known to be resistant to parasites and diseases which also reduces the need to drench and use treatments for protection.
The Dorper sheds its fleece during the warmer months – late Spring/Summer. The wool simply falls off the skin and onto the ground where it breaks down into the soil over time. The fleece regrows in Autumn when the temperature becomes cooler. As they shed their wool, they are a favourable breed in pastoral areas as they do not require shearing and are less susceptible to flystrike, eliminating the need for mulesing or fly treatments.