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Breed Information

We raise two breeds of sheep at Black Sparrow Ranch:

American Harlequin and Babydoll Southdown. 

Although similar breeds, they do have some differences.

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Miniature Sheep

There are many benefits to these pint-sized fluff bottoms:

  • Easier to handle

  • Safer Around Children

  • Excellent for Smaller Acreage

  • Fencing can be Shorter

  • Smaller Shelters

  • Less Grain / Hay Required

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American Harlequin

  • Fewer than 1500 in Existence

  • Flashy Black and White Spots

  • Some Have Blue Eyes

  • Can be Solid-Colored

  • Known as "The Fun Sheep"

Check out the Harlequin Sheep Society and Registry for historical information.

 

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Babydoll Southdown

  • Commonly Black or Off-White

  • Can be Spotted (Very Rare)

  • Fuzzy, Teddy-Bear Faces

  • Popular in 4-H and at County Fairs

  • Known as "The Smiling Sheep"

  • Steadily Gaining Popularity

  • Several Registries to Choose From

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Babydoll Sheep

Babydoll Southdown sheep are an adorable miniature sheep which are typically priced between $500-$800 when registered. The most common colors are black (which can fade to a chocolate brown color or dark gray as the wool grows) and off-white. The original Babydoll Southdown sheep that Robert Mock gathered in the US also included spotted babydoll sheep which are very rare. Both of our rams at Black Sparrow Ranch are spotted rams registered with the original babydoll registry of OEBSSR. Spotted babydoll lambs typically bring a higher price of $800-$1200 and are highly sought after. 

Babydoll sheep often have sweet, docile natures and they are excellent mothers that usually lamb without difficulty. Since miniature breeds like Babydoll and Harlequin tend to be more expensive, they are usually not used for meat. They provide wool which has many craft and homestead uses (pillow stuffing, insulation, clothing/yarn, erosion control, rugs, coasters, dryer balls, felt art, weavings, etc.) 

With their individual personalities and "smiling" faces, they bring immense joy to their owners, and it is not unusual for them to be thought of as more pet than livestock. 

Harlequin Sheep

American Harlequins are an amazing sheep breed and incredibly rare with fewer than 1500 registered as of 2021. Typically, lambs are priced from $700-$1200 which is usually determined by the following factors:

  • Sex - Ram, Ewe, or Wether (Castrated Ram)

  • Conformation

  • Fleece Color / Spots

  • Eye Color 

  • Generation / Pedigree

Generations are used in the Harlequin breed to determine what percentage of sheep's lineage comes from original Harlequin stock. Foundation status is where the breed begins, whereas Purebred Harlequins are the highest generation available in the registration process.

Foundation Status - Often used to introduce new bloodlines into the breed. For example, F1 is one parent being a registered Harlequin and the other parent being from another approved breed like Babydoll Southdown.

  • F1, F2, FP

True Harlequins - Sheep that have established Harlequin lineage. C is the highest generation of True Harlequins.

  • A, B, C

Purebred Harlequins - These are the rarest of miniature Harlequin sheep. This generation can only be achieved when both parents are C generation or Purebred Harlequins.

  • AP - Purebred Harlequin

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What's the Difference?

Although there are always exceptions, Babydolls (shown on the right) typically have broader faces, wider foreheads, stubbier muzzles, and smaller ears. Harlequins (on the left) have longer, slender muzzles and much less wool on their faces, ears, and sometimes legs. We find Babydoll wool to be shorter and denser than that of Harlequins.  

 

Both are under 24" tall and polled (without horns). Both breeds can either be solid or spotted although most Harlequins are spotted and most Babydolls are solid. Only Harlequins have blue eyes, although it is rare. 

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Ready to Purchase?

 For lambs, you have the option of putting down a deposit to reserve your lamb, or adding yourself to our waitlist. We occasionally will have weaned lambs and adults available on a first come, first serve basis. Click here for more information.