The Dorper, developed in South Africa, is primarily a mutton sheep and meets these requirements exceptionally well. The breed shows exceptional adaptability, hardiness, reproduction rates and growth as well as good mothering abilities. They are a hair sheep.
The Dorper breed is numerically the second largest breed in South Africa. Their popularity has spread to many countries throughout the world, including the United States in 1995. The Dorper was developed in South Africa in the 1930′s, through crossing of the Blackheaded Persian ewe (a native fat-tailed sheep) with the Dorset Horn (a mutton breed).
The breed has a characteristic black head (Dorper) or can be all white (White Dorper). Dorpers are a well-proportioned breed with heavy muscled hindquarters. Their skin covering is a mixture of hair and wool and it will drop off without being sheared. The Dorper has a thick skin which is highly prized and protects the sheep under harsh climatic conditions. It is the most sought after sheepskin in the world.