Originating on the South Down hills of Sussex County England, the Southdown
is the oldest of the Down breeds. These small sheep were extremely hardy and produced good flavored meat. In 1780 John Ellman,
realized the potential of these animals and set out to standardize the Southdown breed. By 1803, The Southdown reached America
but could not compete with the bigger animals and were crossbred to produce the large leggy Southdown of today.
The last remaining flocks of this original style Southdown sheep were found,
in 1990 after a five year search. A registry separate from the modern Southdown Registry was necessary to preserve the unique
conformation and size of the miniature Baby Doll Southdown. Three hundred fifty of these sheep were located and accepted into
the Foundation Registry. The sheep that were registered were located in small flocks that had been kept pure by dedicated,
Adult Baby Dolls are 24 inches or less at the shoulder without wool; however
many are in the 18 to 22 inch range. White is the predominant color, but there are a few blacks.
The little Southdowns have qualities that endear them to all who see them.
They are gentle and quiet sheep. Having been bred for so many years to be tolerant of small areas, they do not require a large
pasture. They have strong flocking instincts and do not do well as singles ; therefore they are usually sold in pairs. They
do well with other non-aggressive livestock and offer diversity to any breeding program.
Neither sex has horns and the rams are not aggressive. They do not wander
or bother fences nor do they attempt to jump them.
Ewes are good mothers who often have twins and occasionally triplets. They
require protection from predators and adequate shelter in cold weather. They are an ancient breed and are not prone to many
of the modern sheep problems and are resistant to foot rot . Baby Dolls are cared for as other sheep - regular worming, foot
trimming , yearly shearing and vaccination, covers most of their care and treatment.
Their wool is short stapled and fine. It grades at about 55-60, and spinners
enjoy working with the wool. Fleece test at 19- 20 microns, which puts it in the class of cashmere. It has more barbs per
inch than any other wool types and makes it ideal to blend with either angora rabbit or angora goat for spinning.