Montadale Sheep

Breed Type: Dual-Purpose Breed
Country of Origin: United States
Breed Association Website:

The history of the Montadale breed of sheep dates back to over half a century and is one of the most amazing success stories in modern sheep-breeding history. While other breeds have been developed in the United States, Montadales are the only breed to have been developed by private enterprise.

Much of the credit for the development of the breed goes to E.H. Mattingly, a well- known commercial lamb buyer who was obsessed with the idea of producing the ideal sheep. Early in his youth, Mattingly had been advised that if he could bring together the qualities of the big western white-faced sheep and the popular mutton characteristics of the Midwestern sheep, he would have the perfect breed.

Many breed combinations were crossed throughout the years, but it wasn’t until 1932 when he purchased the first Columbia ram to go east of the Mississippi River to cross on his Purebred Cheviot ewes that provided Mattingly proof that his mission was on target.

In order to find the most profitable combination, the sire and dam of the two parent breeds were eventually reversed, with testing being conducted for several years such as growth and development of the lambs, the number of lambs per ewe, lamb weights and fleece weight and grade. The records clearly proved that the best results were from this cross.

With adoption of the Columbia ewe and the Cheviot ram as the foundation of the Montadale breed, the next step was to establish a “Standard of Excellence” or the blueprint for all future breeders to use as a guideline for breeding of this ideal dual-purpose sheep.

The standard had eight points:

  • Small head – to reduce or eliminate lambing trouble
  • Open face – to prevent wool blindness
  • Clean legs – prevents foreign objects from damaging fleece and carcass
  • Choice mutton quality – desired by both packer and consumer
  • Heavy fleece – premium quality (medium blood)-wool free of black fibers
  • Prolific – a breed that would produce a high percentage of lambs
  • Good mothers – a sheep that would claim its young
  • Strong, healthy, and vigorous – a sheep with style and alertness

Nine more years of selective culling and line breeding produced a sheep which consistently met the desired standard. E.H. Mattingly’s dream was realized, and although still in its infancy, the Montadale breed was officially established.

In 1945, the Montadale Sheep Breeders Association was founded with five charter members; E.H. Mattingly becoming the first Executive Secretary and Anne Gregory the Secretary-Treasurer. By 1946, there were over 110 members with approximately 5,500 head throughout 16 states. However, it wasn’t until February 1947 that the Association was officially incorporated after securing a charter from the State of Missouri. The establishment of the first National Montadale Show and Sale soon followed in July 1947 and was held in Montgomery City, Missouri, in conjunction with the local county fair.

Montadale fleeces are gaining popularity with spinners and crafters.

This breed presented by

My Montadales
Kendra Fleck
47289 SD Highway 324
Brookings, South Dakota 57006
(814) 441-0981

2023 Featured Breed: Jacob

Learn more about the Jacob breed and talk to JSBA members in the Breed Display Barn (Barn 7-8 on the map) while you are at the Festival.

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Note from the festival office - Fleece Show & Sale checks (premiums and fleece sale proceeds) have all been delivered to the post office. Auction checks and checks for Sheep Show premiums have all been written and signed and are in the process of being stuffed into envelopes (fingers crossed that I don't run out of envelopes before Staples delivers more on Monday). Factoid - those three categories generated a total of 300 checks, which is a stack almost 2" high. Waiting for payment information from the Skein & Garment committee so I can write checks for their special prizes. Ditto for payments to the Sheep-to-Shawl teams. ... See MoreSee Less
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In case you missed our earlier announcement, we are now accepting orders for a second printing of large tote bags and moss green t-shirts at Orders will be accepted through COB on Wednesday, May 24th. After that time, the order will go to the printer. They have given us a turn around time of around 2 weeks to have the items printed. Once we have the shirts in hand, we will start shipping to fulfill the orders. Your credit card will not be charged until your order ships. Note: The "guesstimated" shipping fee that is computer generated by the online sales platform at the time of your order tends to run high. You will likely notice the actual charge when your order is shipped is considerably less. Store pickup at the Sheepman Supply showroom in Frederick, MD is also possible; put "store pick up" in special instructions when you check out and you won't be charged the shipping. #mdsw #mdsw2023 #festivalgear #celebrating50years ... See MoreSee Less
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Due to the overwhelming popularity of our 50th anniversary items, we are now accepting orders for a second printing of select items at The order period will run until COB on Wednesday, May 24, at which time we will send the order off to the screen printing company. The delivery time will run 2-4 weeks from that point. These second printing items are limited to the large boat tote bag and a short-sleeve t-shirt in Moss green. The shirts are a ComfortWash by Hanes garment-dyed t-shirts in 5.5 ounce, 100% ring-spun cotton and standard unisex sizing, sizes S to 3X. All sales on this second printing will be final (no returns or exchanges). There is also a small quantity of already-printed items available on a first-come, first- served basis until supplies are exhausted:Short-sleeve t-shirt in “Indigo Blue” – Small (16), Medium (14), Large (8), XL (6), 2X (4), 4X (4), 5X (2)Hooded long-sleeve t-shirt in “Saltwater” – Small (6), Medium (4), Large (4), XL (8)Large boat tote bags (8) – these are the same mentioned above“Peacock” blue backpack (13)“Red Rock” beach wash shoulder tote (6)Large posters (12)Small posters (7)These are the same items that were available online prior to the festival and were also sold at the festival. Pickup at Sheepman Supply in Frederick, MD is available. Put “Store Pick Up” in special instructions when you check out and you won’t be charged the shipping. Thank you for your patience while we worked out these details.#mdsw #mdsw2023 #celebrating50years #festivalgear ... See MoreSee Less
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