One of the world’s most popular breeds of sheep, the Dorper, was developed from the Persian. Dorpers were originally developed by crossing Persian sheep with an English sheep breed, the Dorset Horn and have become one of the most valued sheep breeds in the world. Their popularity continues to rise in Australia. For example, Dorper rams were in demand at the 2017 National Sale at Dubbo on Wednesday, September 6, when buyers from four states secured 68 of 72 offered topping at $11,500 and averaging $2393 effecting a 94 per cent auction clearance. Pictured above is the $11,500 top-priced Dell stud ram with Landmark stud stock's John Settree, Dubbo, buyers Tanya and Brad Edson, Red Rock stud, Keith, SA; and vendor Andrea van Niekerk, Dell stud, Moama, who sold rams averaging $5625.
Dorpers are the most popular shedding sheep breed in the world and indeed are one of the most widespread and commercially significant sheep in the world. They are a small African breed that was developed initially by crossing the Dorset Horn with Blackhead Persian sheep in the 1930’s in South Africa. The name ‘Dorper’ is a coupling of the first syllables of the names of the two parent breeds, namely Dorset Horn and Persian sheep. The breed was developed by the South African Department of Agriculture with the aim being to produce a meat sheep suitable for raising in the arid regions of South Africa. It is now farmed in virtually all areas. Like the Persian, the Dorper sheds its coat in late Summer and Autumn, is easy to maintain, has a high fertility, good maternal instincts, a good growth rate and a general hardiness. It has a characteristic black head which it has inherited from the Persian. More recently White Dorpers that lack the black head have been developed.