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

Warm up for the Festival with Winterfest 2023!

Two days of virtual spinning, knitting, and felting classes on January 28 and 29.

Registration opens November 19.

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A preview of our in-person classes for 2023 has been posted at Full class information will be posted once we work out a few more details. Registration will open on February 12. #mdsw #mdsw2023 #celebrating50years #fiberartseminars #yarnlove #dyeing #felting #fiberprep #colortheory #spinning #handspinning #knitting ... See MoreSee Less
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Thank you to our wonderful instructors - Maggie Casey. Jillian Moreno, Esther Rodgers, Kira Dulaney, Alasdair Post-Quinn, and Kristen Walsh - for teaching virtually for our second annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival Winterfest. Thank you, too, Angela Muller, for your fabulous and informative lecture. And a resounding thank you to all the participants (and class assistants) that made Winterfest a success!See you at the live 50th annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on May 6 & 7. The class listings for that should be posted in the next week or so. Registration will open on February 12. ... See MoreSee Less
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Be sure to visit the Maryland Make it with Wool booth in the Main Exhibition Annex at the Festival this year...I hear that in honor of the 50th annual festival, they are planning a display of 50 outfits from past competitions!We are cheering on Jessica - our Maryland Make it with Wool Junior Champion - as she competes in the National Make It With Wool Contest in Fort Worth, Texas! #marylandmakeitwithwool #nationalmakeitwithwool ... See MoreSee Less
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