A Dorper is a fast-growing meat-producing sheep. The Dorper is an easy-care animal that produces a short, light coat of wool and hair that is shed in late spring and summer. It was developed in South Africa and is now the second most popular breed in that country. The Dorper Sheep Breeders Society of South Africa was founded in 1950.
This breed was developed by the crossing of a Dorset Horn x Blackhead Persian around the 1930s. Other breeds such as the Van Rooy are also believed to have contributed to the development of the breed. The name ‘Dorper’ is a coupling of the first syllables of the parent breeds Dorset and Persian.
The breed is well adapted to survive in the arid extensive regions of South Africa. It has high fertility and maternal instinct, combined with high growth rates and hardiness. The breed has the characteristic black head as well as white heads (White Dorper).
This resulted in the birth of mainly black and a few white Dorper lambs. The difference in colour is therefore, merely a matter of preference for each breeder. Black-headed breeders constitute about 85% of the members of the Dorper Sheep Breeders’ of Society of South Africa. The Dorper is the second largest breed in South Africa and has spread to many other countries throughout the world.