New breed of sheep proves popular in NI

Dutch spotted lambs from the company’s import 2017.

The Dutch Spotted Sheep is the latest breed to arrive in the UK, mainly from its country of origin, the Netherlands.

This attractive and remarkably marked sheep with an impressive market carcass has attracted a lot of positive attention since arriving on these shores.

First seen in the UK in 2015, two separate people were responsible for importing them. The first group of buyers then formed a company called Dutch Spotted Sheep UK and became founding members of this growing company.

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The directors or committee of Dutch Spotted Sheep UK [also known as DSS(UK)] very quickly moved this society through all official channels, gaining charitable status, DEFRA approval and eventually becoming the National Sheep Association (NSA) affiliated and official breed society for The Dutch Spotted Sheep, now also a recognized pedigree breed in the UK.

Now just over a year old, fledgling DSS (UK) is growing day by day with membership and the rapidly expanding herd book with lots of promise.

With many events (including first breed sale, purebred classes at major shows and another sheep import company) in the pipeline for DSS (UK) and The Dutch Spotted Sheep, 2018/ 19 is shaping up to be a very exciting time for this new breed and its breeders.

The history of The Dutch Spotted Sheep dates back to around 1880.

Generations of farmers and ancient records confirm that Dutch spotted sheep were originally bred in a region of western Holland; roughly in the area between the cities of Leiden, Utrecht and Rotterdam.

During the 17th and 19th centuries farmers and authorities needed a hardy breed of sheep to tend the grass on the newly reclaimed low embankments (docks) and later sheep played an important role in the transformation of the bog into grass, which was finally strong enough to transport cows.

The sheep had to be able to walk long distances (due to the length of these connected embankments) and also be able to withstand the acidic PH level of the bogs.

During the 1950s, farmers began to use the specific qualities of the original Dutch spotted sheep and, through careful breeding (sometimes crossed with other breeds, such as the Texel or Zwartbles), a sheep with a profitability and higher benefits as well as the characteristics of the modern Dutch spotted sheep evolved.

For the past 20 years The Dutch Spotted Sheep has been classed as a pure sheep in its own right and it is the sheep that is becoming so intriguing in Holland, Europe and now the UK and Ireland.

The popularity of the Dutch Spotted Sheep exploded last year in the UK after this breed was seen as a regular winner in the show ring and captured by experienced breeders and commercial breeders.

Members of the society have also tested Dutch spotted sheep on a wide range of other breeds. Early results would indicate that this breed is a strong contender as an alternative terminal bull.

Attributes such as their quality carcass, high milk yield, easy lambing, hard feet, mobility and easy temperament are of interest to both pedigree and commercial breeders, with crossbred premium lambs being sold at a high price. this year across the country.

With butchers reporting the meat to be of high quality and unique in taste, Dutch spotted mutton is certainly making its mark this side of the water.

To ensure that The Dutch Spotted Sheep secures its place in the UK, the official company, Dutch Spotted Sheep UK, has carefully selected quality genetics and bloodlines to import as foundation or foundation pedigrees.

Due to the great interest in the breed and the company, DSS (UK) are now appointing regional representatives to help and advise anyone wanting more information about the breed or even reserving sheep through the company’s official import.

Dutch Spotted Sheep UK is also hosting the first official breed sale at H&H Carlisle on August 31, 2018, where members will also be showcasing several different crossbred sheep within the company’s breed stand.

For any further information on the breed or the import company; Visit website: www.dutchspottedsheep.co.uk, Email: [email protected]Call: 07712577337 (Pam Parker, Company Secretary)