78P yearling picture
Horned Dorset page
We have been raising Horned Dorsets since 1993. Prior to that I had raised commercial sheep and then raised Suffolks and Polled Dorsets. As well we are raising Shropshires. I started in the sheep business in 1973 commercially and started in purebreds in 1977 with Suffolks. In 1980 I added Polled Dorsets which eventually led to selling off the Suffolk flock. The Dorsets' ability to breed out of season coupled with their mothering and milking ability gave them quite an edge in profitability. The Horned Dorset had always appealed to me but were not readily available in Western Canada so I held off for awhile. In 1993 I had some Horned lambs born to polled parents, rekindling the wish to try Horned Dorsets. In 1994 I purchased some registered sheep from Brian Cathcart. Throughout the years I have added genetics from many Ontario breeders as well as purchasing the majority of the Cox Creek flock from Quebec. I also purchased a ram from Greg Marshall in Nova Scotia. Perhaps the most important genetic acquisition has been the purchase of semen from New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The New Zealand ram Douglas Downs 77/95 introduced some outside genetics from a great ram who has since had his genetics spread throughout the world. The ram from Greg Marshall was a ram he had purchased from William Crowson. This ram was the result of semen that had been imported from the Poorton flock in the United Kingdom. So when I went looking for another bloodline, it wasn't long until I was in contact with Francis Fooks, the owner of the Poorton Flock. I was able to make a deal to get semen from his best proven flock sire, Poorton W124. Through artificial insemination, we have addded these great genetics to our flock. I continue to use both Douglas Downs 77/95 and Poorton W124 via A.I.. I also currently use a son of W124, a son off the Crowson (Greg Marshall) ram as well as having a rams from John Fisher, Karl Bowen and Brian Cathcart. Always on the lookout for different bloodlines that are proven, who knows where our search will lead to next. My goal is to find superior genetics and then linebreed to them to help instill it in my flock as a breeding line. In this way I not only get the outcross but also can preserve the bloodline for future use.
We have not shown very much in recent years as the top show ring sheep are often not the type that I feel are the profitable kind for the commercial producer. However, we try to show or perhaps rather display our sheep at the All Canada Classic. We have had numerous Grand and Reserve Champions with our Horned Dorsets. My son, Rocky, has also done quite well showing Horned Dorsets in the junior shows. Most recently he won the T.M. Reed Memorial Award for the best ewe lamb at Farmfair International in Edmonton, Alberta.
Breeding stock available. Check our sale barn for current listings.
History and breed facts: The exact history of the Horned Dorset is not real clear. History tells that the Spanish wished to conquer England, perhaps at this time Merinos were introduced to Southwest England. Crossing with the Horned Sheep of Wales may have resulted in the start of the Horned Dorset, a desirable all-purpose sheep. Whatever the true beginning was, thus began a breed of sheep which spread over Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and most of Wales, which were called Horned Dorsets. As early as 1860 Dorsets (as they were known in the USA) appeared in Oregon. In 1885 Dorsets from England were exhibited in Chicago. This seems to have been one of the first importations to the Eastern United States. In 1949 the first POLLED Dorsets were born at North Carolina State University. They were born to Horned parents, a mutation is believed to have occurred in their sire. However it wasn't until 1956 that they were accepted into the Continental Dorset Club registry. Thus began the era of the Polled Dorset which led to the Horned Dorset reaching a level of being rare. My belief is that despite the characteristics of Polled Dorsets being similar to Horned Dorsets, the comparison is somewhat hard to make. The Polled Dorsets have been selected quite heavily for the show ring and either through neglect to select for out of season breeding or questionable genetics, they have lost some of what has made Dorsets so highly sought after. Both Horned and Polled Dorsets are a white sheep of medium size with good length of body and excellent muscling. Rams should weigh 225 to 275 pounds or more at maturity and ewes normally weigh from 150 to 200 pounds. They produce a very white fleece that is strong and close, weighing normally between 5 and 9 pounds. Dorsets produce excellent carcasses and are noted for being one of the most sought after producers of lightweight carcasses, especially for Christmas and Easter. The Dorsets' biggest claim to fame is their OUT OF SEASON breeding capability. The ewes are also known to be good milkers and excellent mothers with a high percentage of multiple births being produced. Early maturity enables the ewes to produce their first lamb crop at a year of age and their longevity allows them to continue producing for many years, with some producing into their teen years.
144R as Lamb
2001 Champion Ram
2001 Reserve Champion Ram
2003 Classic Flock
2003 Classic Ram Lamb
Champion Ewe 2001
Champion Ewe Lamb Farmfair 2006,
Douglas Downs 77 95 AI Sire
Flock Sire 78P
Flocksire 144R Sired by W124
Fall Ram Lamb
W124 Taken As Old Ram AI Sire
W124 Son Owned By Francis Fooks
2 year old ewe
mature ewe off Douglas Downs 77/95
making the bed
Flock sires 2010
Tiffany and Mac
Champion and reserve 2009 All Canada Classic
Champion Horned Dorset ewe, all Canada Classic 2012