We considered two possible headlines for this article “New Breed Standard” and “No Change to Breed Standard” – both are accurate reflections of the proposals that the Breed Development Working Group will be putting to the AGM.
The Breed Standard itself is unchanged, and remains firmly based on the original French breed standard. But the Working Group felt that the presentation of the standard could be made much clearer – hence the headline above!
The new draft of the Breed Standard may be found on the AGM page – or follow this link. You’ll see that it is now presented in 3 columns: the first gives a description of the feature and is largely unchanged from the old standard; the second column amplifies the description and gives significant reasons for disqualification; and the third column gives a weighting of the relative importance of each feature to assist breeders and judges.
Included for the first time, but once again based on the French standard, are optimum height ranges for rams and ewes, an indication of the height range that should be observed in yearlings, and a fuller description of the characteristics of the fleece.
Your comments on the draft are most welcome ahead of the AGM. Please either comment below or email email@example.com
But what does the Breed Standard Mean? It’s all very well to lay down a breed standard, but what do we mean when we say, for example, that the withers should not be “prominent” or the legs “well-proportioned”? The Breed Development Working Group agreed that the written standard should be backed up by two important new resources:
- First, a new set of Breeders Notes, illustrated with photographs to demonstrate exactly what the standard means and to interpret it for breeders and judges. The notes are now in production, an will be produced as soon as possible.
- Secondly, Breed Standard Workshops, at which the finer points of the standard will be illustrated using live sheep. The workshops will be open to all members and will cater for all levels of experience from complete beginners to those seeking to qualify as Society inspectors and judges. It is hoped to hold two workshops next year, ideally one in the North and one in the South to allow maximum attendance. Details will follow early in 2020.