Dorper Characteristics


Black Headed Dorpers: A white sheep with black confined to the head and neck only is the ideal. Black spots on the body to a limited extent are permissible but it is preferable that a body spot is joined to the neck colour. An entirely white sheep or a sheep predominately black is not permissible. Brown hair around the eyes, white teats, white under the tail and white hoofs are undesirable.

White Dorpers: A white sheep, fully pigmented around the eyes, under the tail, on the udder and the teats is ideal. A limited number of other coloured spots are permissible on the ears and underline only.


Strong and long, with large eyes, widely spaced and protectively placed. The forehead must not be dished and the ideal head has a triangular concept. The size of the ears must be in relation to the head. A developed horn base or small horns are the ideal. Heavy horns are undesirable but permissible. The head must be covered with short, dullish black hair in the black headed Dorper and dull, white hair in the White Dorper. A blaze must not continue in front of the horn base on the head in the black headed Dorper. Undershot or overshot jaws must be culled.

Fore-Quarter And Neck

The neck should be of medium length, well-fleshed and broad and well-coupled to the forequarters. Shoulders should be firm, broad and strong. A moderate protrusion of the brisket beyond the shoulders, moderate width and good depth are the ideal. Forelegs must be strong, straight and well-placed with strong pasterns and hoofs not too widely split. Weak pasterns must be discriminated against according to degree.


The ideal is a long, deep wide body, ribs well sprung, loin broad and full. The sheep must have a long straight back and fat evenly distributed over the whole body. A slight dip behind the shoulders is permissible.


A long and wide rump is the ideal. The inner and outer hind quarters are to be well fleshed and deep in adult animals. The hind legs must be strong and well-placed, with sturdy feet and strong pasterns. Faulty pasterns must be discriminated against according to degree. The hocks must be strong without a tendency to turn in or out. Ideally, there should be evidence of some fat cover on and around the tail.

Udder And Sex Organs

A well-developed udder and sex organs are essential in the ewe. The rounded tail should cover the sex organs in the ewe and the anus in the ram. The scrotum of the ram should be rounded and long and the testicles should be of equal size and not too small. A split scrotum is undesirable.

General Appearance

The sheep should be symmetrical and well-proportioned with an adequate covering of flesh. The animal should look healthy with bright eyes and free from disease. The animal in general should be a good weight and size for its age. A calm temperament with a vigorous appearance is the ideal.