THERE’S a new kid in town and it’s certainly making heads turn as since the first introduction of the Dutch Spotted Sheep to the UK back in 2015, a society was officially formed earlier this year and the breed is making its mark at shows up and down the country. 

It’s eye-catching looks with its black and white spotted fleece are just part of the attraction, but what is really gathering interest is the breed’s strong, square body as well as its maternal abilities. Following a couple of private imports in 2015, the first main import of Dutch Spotted Sheep came in 2016 with many of these breeders going on to found the Dutch Spotted Sheep Society, which received its CIO charity status in March. 

There are currently around 30 flocks registered in the UK, but following society secretary, Pam Parker’s success at the Great Yorkshire Show last week – where her gimmer went on to claim the any other continental breed championship – the breed has attracted a new group of fans. None more so than the judge of the section, a Mr D Knowles, who said the champion was the best sheep he’s ever handled and has since expressed a real interest in registering a flock and buying a few of his own. 

“There’s been a lot of interest and a constant queue round the pen,” said Ms Parker on Wednesday. “Everyone is very impressed with how they handle, their tops and backs especially, and the good amount of flesh and gigot they have. 

“They’ve got all the maternal abilities – they’ve got great milk and lamb easily as they’re fine boned but grow quickly and develop a very good carcase. They’re very flashy too with a good sharp eye and ears that makes them stand out,” she added.

As the breed is still in its early stages in the UK, there is no strict breed standard with regards to colouring in case it detracts from the quality of sheep. However, the society does suggest an 80:20 black to white ratio is ideal but that doesn’t mean to say an all black or all white sheep would be penalised in the show or sale ring in the future. The only stipulation at the minute is a black leg or at least a black spot at the knee.

On a more commercial basis, the society’s chairman, Keith Harryman has been trialling Dutch Spotted genetics on to a mixture of Beltex, Texel, Jacob and Mule females to produce fat lambs. 

“I’ve been very impressed with the lambs – they’ve lambed no bother and are growing well, even out of hoggs” said Keith, who runs 1500 ewes near Keswick, most of which are Swaledales with around 120 white-faced cross ewes. “I’ve been speaking to the local butcher and we’ll take the first batch to slaughter to get some feedback on the eating quality from the local houswife. 

“The breed is supposed to have a sweeter flavour and a weaker smell of sheep when cooking,” said Keith, adding that he hopes to compete a few of the cross lambs at the winter prime shows. 

As well as the group heading to the butcher, Mr Harryman aims to finish a batch of the April-born lambs on grass to see how they kill out, and will keep a few female lambs to breed from as he believes they’ve improved the conformation and topline of his commercial flock. Plus, he’s had a lot of interest from other breeders who want to buy some of the cross-bred gimmers for themselves.

He also intends to carry out further trials on lambing hoggs to the Dutch breed to make sure his success at this year’s lambing can be continued and mark the breed as a good option for commercial producers. 

The society is currently offering two starter packs which each include the costs of the flock registration, a yearly membership and pedigree registrations as well as all administration and import costs. The first option, the starter flock, includes two females and a male and costs £1760, while the second option is for two females and costs £1190. Any further individual sheep can be bought for £500 apiece. 

The interest has been so great so far that all of the imported sheep have been spoken for and there is a waiting list. For more information or to register your interest, contact secretary Pam Parker at or visit