History of the Breed
The first German Merino sheep were
imported from Germany to South Africa by
Elsenburg Agricultural College in 1932.
The German Merino was chosen
specifically for the winter rainfall
area where good grazing in winter was
followed by weak conditions in the dry
summer months and early spring. This
breed had to be able to utilise the good
winter grazing and had to lamb in
autumn. The lambs had to grow fast to be
marketed before the grazing deteriorated
in the dry summer months.
The first German Merinos imported by
private persons were those of Messrs
Shady and Kiessig of Philippolis in the
dry South-Western Free State in 1934.
The breed did exceptionally well
throughout South Africa and was
developed through selection for better
wool and conformation. Today, it is an
outstanding dual purpose breed that can
compete with any sheep breed under
intensive as well as extensive
The uniqueness of the breed was
recognised and a need for a new name
came to the fore. During August 1970 the
breeder’s decide to change the name to
the South African Mutton Merino and has
been used as such since January 1971.
The society was founded
on 30 October 1946.