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.
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.
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, experienced breeders.
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 . BabyDolls are cared for as other sheep - regular worming, foot trimming , yearly shearing and vaccination, covers most of their care and treatment.
TTheir wool is short stapled and fine. It grades at about 55-60, and spinners enjoy working with the wool. FFleece 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.
BabyDolls have attractive teddy bear faces and make very gentle pets, ideal companions for children, the handicapped, and older folks who do not want to deal with large stock but don't want to be without sheep. The miniature animal enthusiast regards them as collectors items. They are lovely little lawn ornaments and can fit most anywhere. A large city lot can easily accommodate a pair.
The BabyDolls have proven themselves to be a sound financial investment. Most breeders sell out of lambs early and the demand exceeds the supply. They are priced comparatively with the other rarer and miniature sheep.