We do not register our sheep. There are a couple of reasons we choose not to do that.
Firstly, it is impractical for us because it would mean chasing down former owners and then them chasing down papers. They exist, but it would be a ton of legwork.
Secondly, it is expensive. Registering any purbred animal requires a dues, and to do that every year is not worth the investment.
Thirdly, no one (unless they’re showing or looking for very high quality breeding stock) really cares.
However, we have been doing research on the heritage and bloodlines of our particular flock of sheep. It turns out, they’re an old-style flock and they are the third-generation descendents of an heirloom flock in Ettrick Forest, Scotland, UK.
Our ram, Skye, is a fairly massive bloke. He is not the absolute true breed ideal as his horns are a bit wide from his skull, but he is long-bodied, stout, and heavy. His lambs are robust and have nice, broad brows.
Our new ram, Edison, is one of Skye’s offspring. Edison shows great promise; he has a wide head, tight horns, beautiful facial markings, a long body, and a stout confirmation. He is the embodiment of a handsome, heirloom ram. We have high hopes for him.
A bit about the Ettrick Forest bloodline:
According to Wikipedia (Yep, I’m citing Wikipedia):
“Ettrick Forest is a former royal forest in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It is a large area of moorland, south of Peebles, stretching from Dollar Law to Selkirk.” Apparently the forest itself has been destroyed in part due to sheep breeding. Sad. Here are some photos of what Ettrick Forest looks like now:
However, the stock at Ettrick Forest are heirloom-breed sheep. If anyone is familiar with “old” and “modern” breeding in horses, it is much the same. For example, Morgan horses.
An “old” type Morgan horse is deep-chested, stocky, with large, kind eyes.
A “new” type Morgan horse is much sportier, easier to confuse with cross between a Quarter horse and an Arabian. They are meant to be eventers, not carriage pullers.
There is a similar school of thought with Scottish Blackface sheep. The old breeding is stocky, wide-faced, wide-horned, and generally quite hardy to the elements. The new breeding is lighter, with a thinner face and smaller horns.
In terms of showing and breeding, the new lamb-breeding stock are much more desirable. In terms of breed preservation breeding, the old style is desired.
Having found out not only by the comments of those well-versed in the Scottish Blackface world, but also by observation and comparison, we find that our flock is quite aligned with an older style of Blackface.
And we totally, really, obviously like it that way.