Breed origins and features
White Dorpers originate from crossing a Persian Blackhead with a Dorset Horn sheep and in later experiments crossing with Van Rooy in an effort by the South African Sheep industry to increase the meat production from their arid based breeds.
The breed is a total shedding breed (i.e. annually sheds its cover of kemp/hair/wool) and requires no shearing, crutching or mulesing. It is this characteristic that gives it the feature of being a unique easy care breed.
The breed is very hardy, extremely fertile and ewes can be joined at six months of age to give rapid turnoff of lambs.
It is also very well adapted to all environmental conditions and do particularly well in the very low rainfall areas (100mm per year), as well as in high rainfall zones (1,000mm per year).
It is common for White Dorper ewes to lamb at over 150% under poor conditions and ewes joined at six months of age to lamb at over 100%. They are very good mothers and have high milk production.
The Australian Dorper Society has a good network of Stud Classers and has a system of "typing" animals as a means of quality assurance within the breed.
Sheep Genetics Australia has also produced the Australian Sheep Breeding Value (ASBV), which is available for a range of economically important traits and is designed to be used in conjunction with its genes and the environment in which it is raised (e.g. the amount and quality of feed, single or twin birth type). ASBVs account for these environmental effects, allowing the comparison of sheep based on the genes they will pass on to their progeny.