THE BREED 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 conditions.

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.

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