The Harelquin breed was developed over the past 35 years. Started by Kathleen Sterling, the following breeds were used in their development: Karakul, Tunis, Corriedale, Lincoln, Border Leicester, Romney, Montadale, and Southdown.
"Harleys" are inquisitive and love life. They are athletic and can often be seen bouncing around the pasture expressing their joy at a beautiful day.
Lambs are born mostly black, mostly white, or black & white spotted. ALL combos can produce spots. The spotted sheep mature into a combo of white, off-white, black and cocoa brown.
According to the Harlequin Sheep Society & Registry, as of 2018, there are less than 650 registered Harlequins in the US.
Harlequin sheep by breed standard are no more than 24" at the shoulder. Their mature weight ranges from 80-120 lbs. All are naturally hornless and require no facial wool trimming. Ewes make excellent mothers and often have multiple
lambs each lambing over many years. Both rams and ewes have calm dispositions and are generally good-natured. Most carry the blue-eyed gene and blue eyes can be partial or full.
The lifespan of Harlequin sheep is anywhere from ten to fifteen years. They are hardy sheep and not subject to common illnesses such as foot rot. When pastured well, they are also fairly worm resistant. Routine care is a CDT shot once a year, regular worm load monitoring, shearing once a year and a hoof trim every 3-6 months.
Wool can have fancy spots or plain brown with black legs and face. You may also find full or mostly white Harlequins. No matter the wool color; plain or fancy spots, offspring will likely revert to fancy spots. In order to increase the gene pool, some breeders have crossbred to Babydoll Southdowns with Harleys.. The resulting lambs are usually brown (black) and often have a white spot on their heads, necks or chests. It's interesting to note that when bred, these single color Harleys throw fancy spotted lambs. Once thing is for sure: you never know what you are going to get with Harlequin mini sheep!
Whether you're looking for a quirky little livestock pet, or a rare "status" breed, Harlequins could be the hobby farm sheep for you!
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All sheep are registered with the Harlequin Sheep Society & Registry (HSSR)
Each year the decision to breed is based upon how many deposits we have in the Fall. It's important to make your decision early in order to ensure availability.