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Dorper Ram from New Zealand

I have to say that sheep have some of the best names, my favorites including “Dorper” (door-per).

Never heard of Dorper before? That may be because some of you might be older than the breed. Developed in the 1950’s Dorper are a hair sheep not often seen in the wool world, while they have a blend of hair and wool, the wool comes from the undercoat that they then shed once a year requiring no shearing, ergo “Hair Sheep.” They are a natural mix cross between a Dorset and Blackhead Persian.

Flock of Dorper Photo:Teddy Llovet

They are used mostly as a sheep for meat and milk in arid nutrient lacking areas, in fact, they are the second most common sheep in South Africa. There are technically two breed types, Dorper is the title given to any non-white sheep of the breed, while White-Doper are all white whose genetics draw more from the Dorset breed standard, in opposition to the traits of the Blackhead Persian. Oddly as both base breeds are mostly white, Dorpers often have a mix of natural colors such as grey and caramel.

If your finding Dorper fiber is most likely was raised somewhere with more nutrients than South Africa, given enough nutrients they grow a finer longer staple length. As all the wool they create is from the undercoat so it is very fine, with very little crimp it is still very bouncy. Dorper has been compared with Merino with its fine quality that is soft enough to be against the skin.

Louets fiber was raised in New Zealand, the Valhalla of the sheep world, with better nutrients so this Dorpers has a 2 inch staple length, very few guard hairs and is fine enough to wear against the skin.


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