Breed Characteristics



The Dorper is a smart, intelligent sheep that is easy to work. It is generally easy to handle, free moving and usually not aggressive. Dorpers definitely have their own unique personalities.


Able to adapt to the environment, either hot or cold climate. Does well under harsh, extensive conditions, as in more intensive operations.

Grazing Habits:

Dorpers are non-selective grazers. They browse in a similar manner to a goat and have the ability to graze at a higher level than traditional sheep. They are productive in areas where other breeds could not survive.

Non-Seasonal Breeding:

Will breed at any time of year with the ability to produce lambs three times in two years.

Fertility and Mothering:

Excellent mothers who produce good quantities of milk. They are very fertile, generally a primipara (first ‘lamber’) will have one lamb, but twins and triplets are common in older, experienced ewes. Ewe lambs can be bred at 8-10 months of age.

Growth Rates:

The growth rate in this breed is exceptional. Lambs are vigorous and have high survivability. Under good conditions lambs are able to reach 80 lb live weight in 3.5 to 4 months. The lambs are excellent feed converters; they put all their energy into meat production. Mature rams average 240-275 lbs. Mature ewes reach 155-200 lbs.


Well put-together carcasses with good fat distribution.

Early Maturity:

Dorpers mature early sexually, some ram lambs can begin to work at four to five months, and ewes can begin cycling at 5 months of age. Normal breeding age for ewes is eight to 10 months.


Parasite Tolerance:

The Dorper is not resistant to parasites, but appears to have a higher tolerance to internal parasites than most other breeds. This allows for less drenching and also makes the Dorper a good proposition for organic farming.

Cross breeding:

This breed crosses well with commercial sheep of other breeds. In Texas, Dorpers are often crossed with Rambouillet or Katahdin.