Dorset horned sheep

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Dorset horned sheep

The Dorset horned sheep or Horned Dorset breed of sheep is known mostly for its prolific lambing. It has been known to produce two lambing seasons per year: bred in May for lambs finished by the holidays, and bred again immediately after the first lambing to produce again in March or April. This type of management, the ewes sold with the lambs, sometimes produces as many as four or five lambs a year.

The Cornell University Sheep Program developed and teaches the STAR system to promote frequent lambing with Dorsets. Cornell maintains a research and teaching flock five miles south of Dryden, New York, United States. The Dorset has a white face with close short fleece. It has a solid build, with broad back and short legs. Originally, both rams and ewes had horns. The Polled Dorset originated in a herd at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, and a registry of the polled Dorset was established in 1956. Since then the polled breeders have outnumbered the breeders of the horned variety.


  • Breed Name: Dorset horned sheep
  • Other Name: Dorset Horned or simply Dorset
  • Breed Purpose: Mainly meat
  • Breed Size: Large
  • Weight: Mature rams live body weight is between 100 and 120kg, and the mature ewe’s body weight vary from 70 to 90 kg.
  • Horns: Yes
  • Climate Tolerance: Almost all climates
  • Color: White
  • Rarity: Common
  • Country/Place of Origin United: Kingdom


Both horned and polled Dorsets are all white sheep and medium size having good body length and muscle conformation to produce a desirable carcass. Dorset sheep are also known for their ability to breed out of season. The fleece is very white, strong, close and free from dark fiber.

Fleeces average 5 to 9 pounds (2.3 to 4.1 kg) in the ewes with a yield between 50% and 70%. The staple length ranges from 2.5 to 4 inches (6 to 10 cm) 2.5 inches (6 cm) to 4 inches (10 cm) with a numeric count of 46’s-58’s. The fiber diameter ranges 33.0 to 27.0 microns. Ewes weigh 150 to 200 pounds (70 to 90 kg) at maturity, some in show condition may very well exceed this weight. Rams weigh 225 to 275 pounds (100 to 120 kg) at maturity.


The Dorset Horn sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from United Kingdom. It is mostly known for it’s prolific lambing and good meat production. It is also known as Dorset Horned or simply as Dorset. A prettyold breed and developed from white faced, horned and short wooled sheep that thrived in the sheltered valleys and lush hill pastures of southwestern England. It is probably available from the seventeenth century. Today the breed is found in many countries around the world. It is known simply as Dorset in the United States.


Except for the absence of horns in the polled strain, horned and polled Dorsets are identical. Weight: males (rams) – 210-250 pounds; females (ewes) – 140-175 pounds. Dorset sheep have little wool on the face, legs, and belly. Their wool (fleece) is lightweight and is good for hand spinning.

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