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The Dorset breed has drastically changed over the last 3 to 4 decades, and two sub-groups of Dorsets have emerged from this change, the "Show Dorset" and the "Production Dorset".  The Show Dorset has seen the most change in the conformation and productivity of the animals, while the Production Dorset resembles more the "old-style" or "Foundation" Dorset with emphasis on the "Dorset traits" such as out of season breeding, prolificacy, true breed type, mothering abilities, milking capacity, and heavy muscling.  They are easy-keeping sheep that will produce lambs for all seasons and markets, making them one of the most versatile breeds.  A glance through the Continental Dorset Club's "History of the Continental Dorset Club and Dorset sheep" illustrates these drastic changes that have occurred in the breed. 

     There has been a great deal of speculation as to why these changes have occurred in the show flocks, much of which revolves around the use of Columbia blood to get the size in the show Dorsets.  But at the same time, they may have lost many of the "Dorset" qualities, such as out of season breeding.  It is commonly noted that one type of Dorset typically does not fair well in the other's world.  That is, production Dorsets are typically not winning shows, and show Dorsets are not holding up well in commercial operations.  This has led to two groups of producers/sheep within one breed. 

    Finding breeders of Production Dorsets can be difficult because they are not running the show circuit where much of the advertisement occurs. For this reason, another Production Dorset breeder (Glenrose Farms) and I have established a listserv for people interested in production oriented sheep, particularly Production Dorsets.   If you are interested in subscribing, please send an email to ProductionDorsetBreeders-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.  A list moderator will contact you directly or send you an automated greeting welcoming you to the listerv. 

    For more information on the listserv, please go to:
  http:www.yahoogroups.com/community/ProdDorsetBreeders.  Archives of previous messages are available for members.  It is a great place to meet up with producers with like interests, as well as buy or sell some quality production Dorsets!


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K Bar K Farm                                                                                                                                                

Last Updated July 15, 2014

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