Afrikaner Sheep: Characteristics and Breed Information

Afrikaner Sheep are gorgeous sheep breeds and they are suitable for starting a profitable sheep farming business. The animals tend to have distinctive features that make them stand out from other sheep breeds.

Sheep farming business is becoming lucrative in recent days but most of the sheep breeds are susceptible to many diseases.

I recommend you start this kind of farming with animals that are highly resistant to common diseases in order to get high yields in the long run.

In this post, you will explore information about the history and origin of the breed, physical characteristics as well as some of the common health problems affecting Afrikaner sheep breed.

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History and Origin of Afrikaner Sheep

These are fat-tailed sheep breeds that originated from South Africa. They are grouped among the oldest breeds of sheep in South Africa and they are also known as Cape Fat Tail.

Some of the other old sheep breeds in South Africa are Damara sheep, Pedi, Black Persian sheep, and Zulu sheep. These are among other animals that have improved the living standards of many South African farmers.

The Khoikhoi community are the people who brought the ancestors of Afrikaner sheep breeds into South Africa from the Middle East.

The sheep breed is among the first sheep to be imported in Australia and these activities happen at around 1788. Although the breed has become rare in Australia in recent days.

Afrikaner Sheep Characteristics

Size and Weight

These are medium to large size animals. The sheep breed tends to occur in two varieties such as the Ronderib Afrikaner and the Namaqua Afrikaner.

The ronderib Afrikaners are large indigenous sheep in South Africa. They are also further grouped into two i.e Steekhaar Ronderib Afrikaner sheep and Blinkhaar Ronderib Afrikaner. These two animals are distinguishable since steekhaar has coarse hair while blinkhaar has soft hair.

Namaqua Afrikaners are slender and have a fat tail. They are not suitable for modern lamb production as compared to the other variety.

Coat Color

The coat color of the sheep is white with red or black colors on the head. The fat large tail makes them unique from other modern sheep breeds.

Climate Tolerance

These animals are hardy and robust making them have the ability to withstand different weather climates from different regions. They are known to have the ability to withstand the extreme environmental climate.

Low Maintenance Cost

The animals are great forager hence they have the ability to feed on different types of grass, plants, and vegetables. They are also capable of feeding on desert shrubs and plants.

Fertility Rate

Ewes have high reproduction performance under good conditions. The prolific nature enables them to mate at an early age and they can mate throughout the year.

Breed Purpose

The sheep breed is typically known for meat production. The ability to feed on different plants and herbs make their meat high flavored.


Both the ewes and rams have horns. Though the horns tend to be small in length when compared to arapawa sheep breed.

Behavior and Temperament

The animals are active and slightly aggressive. The rams tend to be aggressive and it is recommended to be careful when handling them.

Common Health Issues

The animals are hardy and they have the ability to even survive in desert conditions. They have a strong immune system that makes them less susceptible to common sheep diseases.

Always consult your vet in case you notice some weird symptoms for diagnosis and treatment in order to combat the disease before it becomes very serious.


Are you planning to start a sheep farming business? Well, you need to bring on board sheep breeds that are highly resistant to common sheep diseases.

Having breed these animals for a couple of years, I highly recommend them for any sheep farmer who wants to try something new as far as livestock farming is a concern.

If you happen to have these animals in your yard, we would love to hear more stories about them. Use the comment form below to share the stories. Good Luck.

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