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History of the Dorper and White Dorper
Blackhead Dorpers of the old daysMerino Sheep
In the 1930's a new breed producing a high quality carcass was needed for the dry areas of South Africa.

A Crossbreeding programme with different breeds of mutton rams and indigenous non-woolled ewes, was implied. The best results proving to be the Dorset Horn ram on the Blackhead Persian Ewe. (Dorper and White Dorper). Later the Dorset Horn Ram was mated to Afrikaner Ewes (White Dorper).
Hillside view of a flock of sheep

Today the Dorper and White Dorper is the largest Mutton producing breed in South Africa.

Sheepfarmers accross the world recognised the qualities of the Dorper Breed and in various exporting programmes embrios have been exported to many different countries.

Typical Great Karoo Landscape
The Kasteel White Dorper Stud

The Kasteel White Dorper Stud farm lies in an arid area of the Republic of South Africa, called the Great Karoo. With an annual rainfall of approximately 175mm (7 inches), the grazing is mainly scrubland with a stocking rate of 1 LSU per 32 hectare.

Dries Wiese, the owner and Studbreeder, was 9 years old when his father bought him his first White Dorper ewes with the main purpose of crossbreeding the White Dorper with Merino Sheep.

Typical Kasteel White Dorpers

The White Dorpers adapted so well to local conditions that a stud was establishes in1974. Today the Kasteel White Dorper Stud is the biggest White Dorper Stud in South Africa. From the start, selection was based on production and reproduction on natural grazing.

The Kasteel White Dorper Stud Consists of :

*1000 stud ewes
Detailed records are kept of all ewes and only the best are kept in the stud.
Interlamb period is approximately 240 days with a lambing percentage of 160 plus

*4000 white dorper and white dorper crosses
These ewes are mated to the best rams available. Only 20% of the ewe lambs are kept in the flock, the rest are offered for sale.

Weaning lambs at over 50kg at 100 days is not exceptional on this farm. The average weaning weight for 1996 was more than 40kg in a flock of more than 1 500 ewes. Slaughtering average for 1996 was over 50% and up to 56% was reached.

The quality of the Dorper Skin is recognized all over the world and the demand is ever increasing. Even a cross bred dorper produces a high quality skin.

Carcass of white dorper from Kasteel

Footnote :
"The development of the Dorper and White Dorper sheep breed can justly be described as a true South African success story and today stands as a living tribute to those who originated and improved it. The breed continues to make outstanding progress and although originally bred for the more arid regions, it is now successfully farmed throughout the country and even beyond our borders." - Dorper Journal 1976

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