POINTS OF BREED
Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep
Advisory notes for buyers,
breeding selection and ram inspection
Following a review of the required
points of the breed, the Society gives the following advice to members and
potential new owners. When looking at stock to purchase or ram lambs to put
forward for inspection, consider the following: would you breed from them? Even
though they may have all the correct markings it is worth remembering that
about 80% of our lambs go for meat. Will the ram produce lambs fit for the show
ring and the butcher? The points of the breed are published in the annual flock
book, however interpretation of some descriptions may need some clarification.
The best advice may seem a bit obvious. Invite an inspector or experienced
member to have a look at your stock, especially your lambs. They will advise
you which to take for inspection.
Face: The colour can be off-white, grey
or tan. Individual preferences will not affect registration. The black stripes
will be at least 3/4” wide.
Ears: Should be small and dark inside. Large broad ears are not desirable and
not true to type.
Throat: The most recognisable characteristic of a Torddu is the stripe that
runs from the under side of the jaw to join the black belly. There must be no
break in the stripe and grey is undesirable in the black. A minimum width is
not stated, however a definitive edge is preferred.
Underside: The black belly wool is essential and should continue well up under
the tail . The area either side of the tail (trousers / britches) should be
black with no visible white or grey. This usually gets worse with age.
Tail: The tail should be full length. Obvious signs that the tail has been
shortened will result in the ram being rejected. The underside of the tail must
be black to the tip. There should be no black wool visible on the outside,
however some may have twisted tails. Consideration may be given if the black
falls a short distance from the tip ( if all other points are acceptable)
Legs: Should be predominantly black and must have a stripe ( this can be off
white, grey or tan—usually the same colour as the face). Preference will
be given to complete stripes. Broken or very thin stripes are undesirable but
may be considered when all other points are satisfactory.
Upper wool: This can vary from pure white through grey to very light brown or
shades are preferred. Visible black or dark grey wool in white areas is not
acceptable. This topic is one which causes much discussion. Many prefer to see some kemp, especially as it is a sign of
hardiness and others prefer dark fleeces. Inspectors will look for “patches” rather than variation
between sheep. Darker wool which would be sheared off is preferred to dark wool
grown from black skin.
Fleece: should be soft, firm and close as for Welsh Mountain sheep. Red kemp is
undesirable, but may be overlooked.
Horns: (Rams only). If present should be dark coloured and spiral in growth.
Horns are preferred but not essential. When buying a ram, check for shortened
or removed horns as this ram may produce offspring with badly shaped horns.
Head: Should be black or
dark brown with distinct white stripes running along eyes towards nose. Over
time this has become smaller and is often referred to as a “tear drop”. The
lower jaw should be white and this area should run as far as possible down the throat. There should be a minimum of a bib.
Ears: Small. The outside
should be the same dark colour as the head. Inside should be a light colour as
the white area under the jaw. There should be no lighter colour on the outside
of the ear. Large broad ears are not desirable and not true to type.
Body wool: Main colour to
be black or dark brown, preference will be given to darker colours. (It is
accepted that different soil types/minerals can make a difference to wool
colour). There should be no grey in the fleece. Experience has shown that sheep
with more white down the throat and neck tend to have more grey in the fleece
and appear to turn grey much earlier than the darker sheep. Visible white or
grey patches in the wool are not acceptable. The belly wool must be white and
this colour should show distinctly around the tail.
Tail: Outside the tail
should be as dark as possible. The underside must be white to the tip.
Consideration may be given if the white wool does not extend right to the end.
(if all other points are acceptable). Obvious signs that the tail has been
shortened will result in rejection at inspection. Removing faults from tails
does not stop this genetic characteristic passing on to the lambs from these
Legs: Predominantly tan
with a black stripe. The stripe should be full length, however it is recognised
that this is often very difficult to get. Pre 1995 in the “points of breed” leg stripes were “preferred”.
Since then stripes became essential in the breed description. Broken stripes are un-desirable, however
consideration may be given if all other points are to standard.
Many ewes without leg
stripes are kept for breeding . It is worth noting that these ewes would not be
allowed in the Society sale.
Horns: If present on Rams,
should be spiral and black. ( see picture) Horns are no longer essential for
Wool: Should be soft, firm
and close as for Welsh Mountain sheep.
Conformation: Should be as
for Welsh Mountain Sheep. It is impossible to predict how a sheep will develop
when it is inspected at 3-4 months of age, however rams that are inspected in
November should be the ideal size and suitability for breeding or slaughter.
Legs: In some sheep the
pasterns appear weak. This usually appears in older sheep and continues to get
worse. Occasionally this is seen in lambs and these should not be used for
breeding as this fault can be passed to offspring.
Teeth: Should be checked
before purchase or registration. These can be undershot or over shot . The
incisor teeth should come into direct contact with the dental pad. Ideally any
deviation should be no more than the width of a match. This fault is nearly
always passed on to offspring. When “overshot” the
sheep will have great difficulty grazing short grass.