The Harlequin Mini Meat Sheep breed was developed by the Genelink Stud using crosses of White Dorper rams and Persian ewes. The breed was developed to suit recreational breeders wanting smaller sheep with short tails and short hair in summer that are easy to handle and care for.
One of the qualities of the breed is that they are not excessively muscled, making them safer to work with than many larger, heavily muscled breeds of meat sheep. The ideal live weight is around 40–44kg.
HEAD: Wide and level between the ears showing some softness, face should be straight not twisted.
CARRIAGE: Legs straight, and well placed at corners. No tolerance for hocky, bowlegged.
SHOULDERS, CHEST & BACK: Shoulder well laid into the ribs and level to the back. Chest deep. Back some small variation allowed from shoulder to tail (reflecting fat-tail ancestry) with a slight slope of the croup.
LOIN: Long, wide and thick without excess muscle.
RIBS: Should be deep and wide, thick through the heart girth and well sprung.
RUMP/CROUP & TAIL: Rump of medium width and of medium length with only a slight slope of the croup. Tail is small by preference and ending well above the hocks.
HEIGHT: 45–61cm is ideal (recommendation only).
SKIN: Should be covered by fine shiny hair in summer and longer hair and wool/down is acceptable in the winter coat providing it sheds off in Spring/Summer. Of a delicate grey to bright pink on off-white sheep and of dark tones on black sheep.
COLOURS: All colours are acceptable with no restriction.
RAMS: Rams should look more masculine and are usually larger than ewes. They must have both testicles descended – if one or both are not, it is a cull fault and the ram must be neutered. Rams should not carry wool on the back in the summer of the first year of birth. Conformation is critical in rams and they must be sound
EWES: Ewes should have a broad, well-attached but not pendulous udder with two teats. Ewes should be capable of producing and raising twins. Wool is permitted in the first summer if no bigger than a large man’s hand over the shoulders. Lambing without difficulty is one of the qualities of the Harlequin Mini Meat Sheep.
For the initial registration of Harlequin Mini Meat Sheep the breeder must show some linkage to the original Genelink foundation flock.
Breeder should provide any pedigree details on hand (or name of source of breeding animals) plus photo of the animal to be registered preferably in the summer coat.
Australian All Breeds of Miniature Goat and Sheep Society Inc.