Breed Type: Meat
Country of Origin: South Africa
Breed Association Website:
The Dorper is a South African mutton breed developed in the 1930’s from the Dorset Horn and Blackheaded Persian. The breed was developed for the arid extensive regions of South Africa. One of the most fertile of sheep breeds that is hornless with good body length and a short light covering of hair and wool. The breed has the characteristic black head (Dorper) as well as white heads (White Dorper). Furthermore the breed shows exceptional adaptability, hardiness, reproduction rates and growth (reaching 36 kg [~80 lbs] at three and a half to four months) as well as good mothering abilities.
The Dorper breed was developed through the crossing of the Blackhead Persian ewe with the Dorset Horn and this resulted in the birth of some white Dorper lambs. The difference in color is therefor merely a matter of preference for each breeder. Black-headed breeders constitute about 85% of the members of the Dorper Sheep Breeders’ Society of South Africa.