Dorset Down sheep characteristics

The Dorset Down breed is primarily raised for meat. They are native to the Dorset Downs region of England. Popular breed in the local area for being a choice as Terminal sire.

Dorset Down Sheep breed information

A medium-sized dark-faced sheep is Dorset Down.

A calm and sturdy breed, which can be easily trained to follow the bucket.

The mature Dorset Down ram can reach weight up to 110 kg(240 lb) and ewe weight is 70 kg(150lb).

Lambing percentage is 150 percent.

Dorset Down lamb can reach 18 kg carcass weight in 12 weeks.

Both sexes are polled.

The Dorset Down is a good choice as a terminal sire for fast-growing, grass-fed lambs.

Fleece weight is around 2.2 kg to 3 kg with a staple length of 5 to 8 cm and quality of 56 s to 58s

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Dorset Down Sires can produce:

  • Lambs efficiently
  • Lambs with the fastest daily growth rate
  • Lambs which draft well over the entire range of weights
  • Lambs with lean carcass composition suitable for the present export schedule
  • Carcasses of good conformation, wedge-shaped, with narrow forequarters and small briskets

Things to know

The cross between local and  Hampshire ewes with Southdown rams resulted in Dorset Down in the 19th century.

Dorset Down Sheep is also known as the king of prime lamb breed.

Because of their exceptionally high pheromone count also make very good teasers.

Dorset Down Ram is an ideal Terminal sire for any ewe to produce market-ready lambs at a faster pace.

The introduction of foreign breeds such as the Texel and the immense popularity of the Suffolk meant that the number of Dorset Downs dwindled.

Dorset Down is listed as a minority breed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Brief characteristics of Dorset Down Sheep

Breed NameDorset Down sheep
Other Name 
Country/Place of OriginUnited Kingdom
Breed PurposeMeat and wool
Breed Sizelarge
110 kg(240 lb)
Ewe(Female)70 kg(150lb)
Kiddingone to two lambs
Good for Stall Fedopen grazing  and Stall-fed
Climate ToleranceAll Climates

For more information about the breed visit the Dorset Down Sheep Breeders Association

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