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Our 2015 AGM was held on Saturday, September 5 at 4:00 pm in Moose Jaw, SK.

Click here to view the agenda.

The minutes for last year's AGM can be viewed here.

Dorper ~ The Sheep of the Future! 
Photo credits: Jeremie Sowerby, of  Sowerby Farm Inc.
Photo credits: Jeremie Sowerby, of Sowerby Farm Inc.
 The Dorper Sheep Breed Profile

The White Dorper shares its many outstanding attributes with the Dorper. The one exception of course being... the colour. Separating themselves from the Dorper breeders during the 1940s, the White Dorper breeders took another course and crossed the Dorset Horn/Blackhead Persian with the Dorset Horn/Van Rooy. In addition, they used the "Ronderib Afrikaaner" in the breeding program. They founded a separate Breeders' society but decided to affiliate with the Dorper Sheep Breeders' Society in 1964, since their aim was the same... with the exception of the colour.

Since then, the White Dorper has continued to flourish in South Africa and can now, together with the Dorper, be found in 57 countries around the world. The obvious advantage using the White Dorper versus the Dorper would of course be the uninterrupted colour pattern when crossing onto a white faced sheep. Although many breeders out there love the look of "little Holsteins" running around in the pasture, I prefer a uniform look when casting an eye in my fields.

For simplicity, I will refer to the White Dorper and the Dorper as the "Dorper" in this write-up. This is in no way to suggest they are to be maintained as one breed, as they are considered segregated within the breed due to background and colour. At present, the issue is under discussion in Canada, and I will not comment on that.

There is a lot of information out there about the Dorper, but I have found that due to the breed being relatively "new" to our country (1996), the information is sometimes misinterpreted and the Dorper not given the credit that it is due.

So let's run through the many reasons Dorper breeders love what they do.

The Dorper was designed to produce a high quality carcass under harsh conditions, thus being a low maintenance sheep. Recent Lamb Meat quality Progress Reports conducted in the U.S., using 5 rams each of Finn, Romanov, Dorper (included White Dorper), Katahdin, Rambouillet, Texel, Suffolk, Dorset and Composite (a breed group developed by the USDA) were used, have shown that the meat production of a Dorper is most comparable to the Suffolk, with the Dorper X yielding a higher leg score than any other group. The Dorper X also presented the highest dressing percentage. Add to that the fact that the Dorper has a lower feed requirement compared to most other breeds... and we have a winning combination. It should be noted that in the above mentioned project, the lambs were raised in total confinement, no grazing. The Broadbent Crossbreeding Experiment in Wyoming, conducted in 1998, presented the following information: Dorper, Suffolk, Arcott, Finn/Targhee and Rambouillet were all crossed with Rambouillet. The lambs were weaned off range conditions and then pasture fed to an average weight of about 140 lbs. The results were as follows: the Dorper X had the heaviest carcass weight, highest carcass price and more Prime leg scores than any other group. We are anxiously awaiting the results of the multi year USDA crossbred ewe project, where Dorper/White Dorper, Kathadin, Dorset and Rambouillet rams X Romanov ewes were used, to be published.

The Dorper's pasture utilization deserves extra attention; they were bred to adapt and flourish under severe conditions. You would think that being from South Africa, they would be running for shelter here in freezing Canada, but NOT! I have also seen (in pictures) what they eat in South Africa and (in person) what they eat in Arizona and Texas, US. Let me tell you, no alfalfa in that! They eat branches thick as pencils from bushes dry as bone. And flourish they do...

Dorpers are great mothers, the lambs vigorous. They are fast growing and mature early. I know several Dorper breeders that breed their ewe lambs at 7 months with a 80-90% success rate. They are parasite resistant and in their native country considered to be the most protective breed against predators. And let me tell you, South Africa hosts some big, scary-looking predators.

I will briefly mention the importance of the Dorper skin in South Africa and around the world, as it is regarded among the best. It is used in the manufacturing of high quality leather clothes and gloves. As of yet, no market has been established in North America but it is being investigated as this is written.

Now this brings us to the most controversial attribute of the Dorper, the "HAIR"!!! The Dorper is considered a natural shedding breed... not a hair sheep; its covering consists of a wool/hair blend with a clean kemp underline. Ideally, this wool/hair blend will shed in the spring/summer and leave a "strip" on their top line. This is very important, as it is their protection against the elements. They should NOT shed out completely as this is considered a fault. Also, keep in mind that the lambs do not display their true shedding pattern until after their first matured shedding, which occurs at around 12 months of age. Something else to keep in mind is that the Dorper will shed according to the climate, so we cannot expect our Canadian Dorper to shed like the Texan's.

Now to the facts: losing the price of the wool, the Dorper is not for the sheep breeder who values that source of income. It can, however, be used as a Terminal sire in their breeding program, as the Dorper is successfully used in various crossbreeding programs throughout the world. Many Dorper X breeders swear that the higher price they receive for the carcass makes up for the loss of wool. I am convinced that with the addition of a Dorper ram to your existing flock and the consequent return on your money, this will make you a believer, too.

If you are not fond of the cost and labour involved with crutching and/or shearing your sheep and would like a hardy, low maintenance flock with outstanding meat qualities... the Dorper is definitely for you.

I know that with the results from the White Dorper or Dorper, you will have no regrets.

"The White Dorper" was written by Ina Campbell and was published in the September 2005 issue of the Shepherd's Journal.

2013 ~ The 10th anniversary of the Dorper in Canada show

The 2 1/2 day clinic with South African judge/inspector, Raymond Read went very well with attendants from
Western Canada, France and Ecuador.  The typing of the Dorper was the main topic.  Dorpers are typed on
5 categories ~ the best type being a 5 and the poorest, a 1.  The animals that typed high (5 & 4) are the ones that
are used to breed and keep the high standard in the Dorper breed.

Clinic instructor Raymond Read explains the difference in body shape between male and female.

The sheep show at Calgary was a great success with the Dorper the most  numerous breed in attendance. 

DORPER, the sheep of the FUTURE 

Some of our highlights: 

The Canadian Dorper Sheep Association was pleased to announce that they were able sponsor a world class sheep judge Raymon Read, to be a judge for the 2013 All Canada Sheep Classic Show & Sale in Barrie BC June 28th – 30th. Which was hosted by the BC Purebred Sheepbreeders Association.  This is the rotating purebred sheep show & sale sponsored in a different province across Canada each year by the Canadian Sheep Breeder’s Association (Purebred Sheep Breeders of Canada). 
Mr. Raymond Read was also available for typing sheep of the Dorper Breed across western Canada in conjunction with courses being held for all interested Dorper owners or prospective owners.  Mr. Read discussed Dorper sheep advantages and provided purebred and commercial producers with advice on how to select Doper breeding stock to enhance their various qualities within your own flocks.
Field day activites were held at Circle K Farms, Silton, Saskatchewan.
Thursday, July 4th,  Andy Kuderewko (306) 725-3773.
Dorper Junior and Senior courses were held in Cochrane, Alberta 
Friday July 5th, 6 pm course introduction
Sat. July 6th, 9am start, with lunch break hosted by CDSA,
evening barbecue hosted by Ram H Dorpers (403) 932-3135
Sun. July 7th, 9am start, lunch break hosted by CDSA,
late afternoon AGM (teleconference for those who can not attend in person) 
Evening barbecue was hosted by Lochend Dorpers (403) 932-6436
Mon. July 8th, 9am at Lochend Course typing and judging, written exam.
Course fee was $100. included training manual and refreshments 
Contact for course was: Dave Ellison, Kamloops BC (250)828-2390 delmar@ocis.net
Copyright 2013 The Canadian Dorper Sheep Association, All Rights Reserved.

Dorper, the sheep of the future! 
 Designed by Lorna Wall 2013 to January 2015                              Maintained by Jelaine McDermit March 2015

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