United Horned Hair Sheep Association, Inc.
New Mexico Dahl White and Oñate Sheep should not be confused with Alaska Dahl or Texas Dall Sheep.
They have separate and distinct origins and history. Alaska Dahl sheep are wild mountain sheep native to
Alaska while domestic Texas Dall sheep were created in the mid 1900's by crossing a hair sheep breed,
Mouflon, with a woolen Rambouillet breed. The New Mexico Dahl sheep have much deeper roots in American
History. According to John Baxter’s book “Los Carneradas", Francisco Vásquez de Coronado y Luján brought
sheep in 1540 seeking the mystical Seven Golden Cities of Cibola. Coronado and his supporters sank a
fortune in his ill-fated enterprise taking 1300 horses and mules for riding and packing and hundreds of head
of sheep and cattle as a portable food supply. Much to his chagrin Coronado's greatest legacy was wild
American Southwest. When Don Juan de Oñate came with colonists to establish settlements in this vast land
they brought 4000 sheep and began the first cowboy ranching and livestock industry in Nuevo Mexico. Nuevo
Mexico exported salt, piñon and hides. On January 26, 1598, Don Juan de Oñate left Zacatecas, Mexico and
arrived in the Kingdom of New Mexico April 30, 1598 to establish the first significant infusion of colonists, a
settlement in the New Mexico Kingdom; (Jamestown was founded in 1607 in Virginia, and the Pilgrims arrived
at Plymouth MA in 1620). By 1827 the NM sheep industry had grown to one quarter of a million sheep, with
65% being in the Alburquerque area.
Many hardships were endured by the individuals raising and trading livestock. To name a few there was
experimentation with less hardy breeds, the constant raiding by the Indians, and the 1828 epidemic break out
which affected the sheep industry in Durango, Mexico. Two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) head were lost
which made the long and dangerous trip profitable for New Mexico sheep herders who presumably raised a
hardier breed. The Candelaria family tried to improve the breed with merinos because their wool had more
lanolin but their hooves were too soft and they could not adapt to the rough New Mexico terrain. Spanish
archives show that Spanish expedition planners investigated years in advance and invested vast personal
fortunes into the planning and preparation of their expeditions. That is well documented. A key element of
survival and success is the advance planning of food and water supply. Any such undertaking would have
certainly begged the question, what kind of animal has the stamina to endure the unknown and yet untold
distances of the new world, and inherent in their own ability to survive hardship, thusly keep us alive? Willful
goats and pigs have their own ideas and are more labor intensive. The lives of Coronado and his men
depended on the survival of his food source on the hoof. Hair sheep could go where cattle and woolen sheep
could not so these hair sheep were the best bet and obvious choice for Coronado. Clearly, the hair sheep
were the best gamble for expeditions like that of Coronado. Given the legacy of Coronado and others like
him, these ancestors of the New Mexico Dahl sheep have long been true to this hardiness claim. They have
over the past quarter century reemerged, and are extant today. This is one of nature’s miracles and a credit
to the ranchero planners and breeders of anonymity and antiquity. Donald A. Chavez y Gilbert
TRAITS REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION:
• Horns must show on registration photos for both ewes and rams when both or one parent is
• 1/8 or less of wool or other sheep parent breeds.
• 25% or less of Bighorn blood is allowed.
• Sheep at maturity normally exhibiting shedding ability.
TRAITS DISCRIMINATED AGAINST (considered a fault):
• Rams’ horns which come within three inches of the face at maturity.
• Extra Teats on ewes.
• Slight under/overbite, with teeth just barely touching the edge of the dental pad.
• Sheep which do not shed out completely at maturity on a general basis.
• Mature rams with no mane at any time.
• Tails reaching all the way to the hocks.
Sheep with more than two horns (such as Jacob Sheep).
Sheep that are polled.
Tails past the hocks.
Sheep with more than 1/8th known wool breeding from the parent breeds.
Sheep with any known wool breeding from any non-parent wool breed.
Sheep with known Jacob bloodlines.
One or both testicles not descended.
Severe under/overbite, with distinct space between teeth & edge of dental pad.
Evidence of cross breeding shown by physical appearance of breeds which are not included in the
history or background of New Mexico Dahl Sheep such as Suffolk, Hampshire, Dorper, Katahdin, St Croix, etc.
Entropion (inverted eyelids) or other genetic eyelid defects.
Naturally occurring droopy or floppy ears on adults.
Elf or Gopher Ears.
Sheep with Disqualifying traits are not eligible for registration and will be denied registration. Excessive
Discriminating traits of an individual sheep may render that sheep ineligible for registration if, at the inspectors
and board of directors discretion, such traits seriously challenge the breed identity.
|THIS website is copyright May 2009 by United Horned Hair Sheep Association, Inc.
Active Members of UHHSA are permitted to use information on their website to help in
ethical and honest promotion and education about the breeds represented. However,
a link to this website should be provided.
Pictures are copyrighted by owners of the sheep pictured and permission will need to
be sought to use the pictures.
|NEW MEXICO DAHL SHEEP REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS