Breed Standards - what to look for...
When assessing the quality of a Derbyshire Gritstone sheep there are 10 features to consider. The breed standard (with points scoring) for each element is below. Naturally some people will value certain characteristics more highly than others depending on their intended use of the breed - so for instance if you intend to spin the fleece then the wool quality is critical whereas, if meat production is more important then you will be keen to secure a sheep with excellent body. If you want to breed tups to sell to other breeders ... then you'll need to work on it all!
1. Face - Potential Points = 10
The face should be a combination of clear black and white markings. Ideally not too dark, light or mottled.
2. Head - Potential Points = 10
The head should be clear of wool , fairly long, polled (horn free). Ewes should have a feminine appearance, whilst rams should be thicker set and masculine. The back of the head should be white and clean.
3. Eyes - Potential Points = 5
The eyes should be bright and prominent, set wide apart.
4. Ears - Potential Points = 5
The ears should be black and white, carried slightly forward, not pricked or dropping.
5. Neck - Potential Points = 10
The neck should be well set and nicely fleshed, medium length and woolled nearly to head.
6. Body - Potential Points = 20
The body should be long, with well placed, broad shoulders, good quarters, well sprung ribs with good top and bottom outlines. The body should be well covered with flesh & wool.
7. Wool - Potential Points = 20
The fleece should be fairly dense, of medium length and fine texture. Free from black spots and kemp (hair) and not rough in the skirts.
8. Skin - Potential Points = 5
The skin should be bright and pink when you part the fleece and be free from black spots.
9. Legs - Potential Points = 10
Legs should be black and white (front legs with black knees and hooves, back legs with black markings down the back of the leg and black hooves). Legs should be free from wool with good bone, joints and feet well placed at each corner of the body, set wide apart and straight.
10. Tail - Potential Points = 5
The tail should be set fairly high. In tups the tail should be long, in ewes docked.
Total Points Possible = 100