Desert Sand Sheep

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Scientific name: Ovis orientalis musimon x Ovis aries

The basics:
The Desert Sand Sheep is a hybrid sheep created in Texas, USA around 1900. Desert Sand Sheep are a naturally shedding, generally light to dark shades of champagne, cinnamon or copper colored sheep with Mouflon Sheep influence in ancestry. All rams must have horns, and the ewes are allowed to have horns although most ewes are polled.

According to the United Horned Hair Sheep Association, "The Corsican Group of Sheep (Painted Desert, Texas Dall, Black Hawaiian, American Blackbelly, Desert Sand, and sheep referred to as Corsicans) are actually the result of initial crosses decades ago between the shedding, European Mouflon Sheep (Ovis orientalis musimon, native to Corsica and Sardinia) with a wide range of more well known "wool" breeds of sheep including: Horned Rambouillet, Churro, Merino, and Jacob. At times, some of these crosses also included a hair or shedding sheep called the Barbados Blackbelly (Ovis aries) which were imported from the Caribbean island of Barbados, West Indies with bloodlines originally coming from Africa."

"Once the special characteristics of these wonderful sheep became more popular, efforts to get these sheep recognized as a unique and individual breed were underway by dedicated breeders."

Appearance / health:
According to the United Horned Hair Sheep Association,

* The Painted Desert Sheep is considered a hair or shedding sheep. These sheep actually have two coats: a hair type coat and usually a more wooly undercoat. The undercoat may resemble a thicker hair to a more wool type look and texture. This undercoat grows during cool weather and will naturally shed off when warmer weather arrives.

* The General Character and Appearance of the Sheep represented by the United Horned Hair Sheep Association, Inc., should be one of a noble animal. The sheep should look like an athlete with a lean, sleek form. The sheep are not purely a meat breed but are more for multiple markets and may not necessarily weigh nor exhibit the deep and heavy muscling of sheep which are considered purely meat breeds.

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