Fat-Tailed Afrikaner Sheep

One of the oldest South African breed is Afrikaner. Typically found in South Africa and the Northern Cape province. Very much suitable for the semi-arid desert-like region.

The distinguished fat-tailed sheep, which can store 40% of body fat. Acts as an energy store during dry seasons. The fat tail usually weighs from 2 to 5 kgs.

There are two types of Afrikaner sheep, the improved Blinkhaar Ronderrib Afrikaner and the unimproved Afrikaner (Namaqua type). 

Blinkhaar Ronderib Afrikaner sheep

  • The Blinkhaar Ronderib Afrikaner sheep are named for their shiny hair(Blinkhaar) and rounded body(Ronderib).
  • The Blinkhaar Ronderib has a thin neck and has hanging ears.
  • The shiny hair used to make costly blankets.
  • The ribs’ shape is oval rather than flat.

Namaqua Afrikaner Sheep

  • Namaqua Afrikaner sheep have a black or redhead. Along with dark hooves and horns.
  • The long legs help them to travel far distances in search of food and water.
  • The curly fat tail is unique to Afrikaner.
  • Afrikaows extreme hardiness in all environmental conditions.
  • A very low maintenance breed is suitable for foraging ability, but their meat is not enough for commercial marketing. 
  • A perfect species adapt to desert-like needs that can survive with less water for more extended periods.

Advantages of Raising Afrikaner sheep

Meat is the primary purpose of their raising. It produces longer and narrower carcass. More fat is present in the posterior parts and less fat in the frontal regions. 

A unique breed that is famous for its fat tail meat.

The fat tail can weigh around 4 to 6 kg, which is crucial for survival during harsh summers or winters. But this fat tail is in high demand during cold seasons. They will use for sausage and another mixing with beef.

Skin is of superior quality, mostly used in leather industries. the leather industry is sought after Afrikaner skin, as they are fine suede and very pleasant to handle. All the lightweight jackets are made out of these sheep.

Afrikaner sheep History

These Afrikaner sheep had their cause in the Middle East and upper east Africa.

They moved southward with the Khoikhoi individuals, moving into South Africa somewhere in the range of 400 and 600 AD, and relocating down the west coast toward the landmass’s southern tip.

By then, the sheep were multi-hued and were generally known as Cape fat-tailed sheep. In the eighteenth century, Cape Dutch ranchers started choosing against shaded coats.

The sheep from this choice framed the premise of the present-day Afrikaner.

Today, however, this breed is in danger of vanishing since European races are slowly supplanting it, both through crossbred imported breeds and through hybridization of the Blinkhaar Ronderib with imported sheep.

The Namaqua Afrikaner is an imperiled breed. Cross reproducing for a more market-adequate body has nearly prompted the termination of this breed.

There are two rushes of 100 ewes, each being kept up by the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture.

One rush can be found at the Carnarvon Experimental Station in the northwestern Karoo and the other at the Karakul Experimental Station close Upington.

In 1995, it was evaluated that solitary 2000 Namaqua Afrikaner sheep left in the nation. 

The South African branch of horticulture, through Grootfontein school, is occupied with a preservation venture for this breed.

Brief characteristics of Afrikaner Sheep

Breed NameAfrikaner sheep
Other NameCape Fat-Tailed
Country/Place of OriginSouth Africa
Breed PurposeMeat 
Breed SizeMedium
35 kg (77 lbs)
Ewe(Female)24 kg (53 lbs)
Kiddingone lamb
Good for Stall Fedopen grazing 
Climate ToleranceAll Climates

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