We decided to add purebred Harlequin sheep to our flock in 2012, establishing two distinct lines of miniature sheep. Harlequin sheep are known as a miniature spotted sheep and are the result of many years of work of Kathleen Sterling of Black Sheep Farm. Although Ms. Sterling has passed, her work continues through a small group of select breeders based in the United States and two breeders in Canada.
Future of Harlequin Sheep
Watching trends is a past time for us and when we first came across the Harlequin minature breed, we felt we were onto a miniature sheep that was destined for great things.
People like miniatures. Generally our customers fall into two broad categories: young families and grandparents. Both need a compact, friendly form of livestock that is easy to tame and easy to handle. Harlequins meet those needs.
Origins of Harlequin Sheep
The following sheep were used to develop the Harlequin breed:
- Border Leicester
- Southdown rams
Approximately fifteen years ago the flock was closed having reached it's goal for building the foundation flock. There were two primary goals of Ms. Sterling:
- To produce a sheep breed with the size and conformation of the Southdown breeds (miniature and standard).
- To produce a sheep with fleece that is varied in color, texture, length and staple
Harlequin Sheep Personality
When we bought our first Harlequin sheep I was told "They are so different". It took about six months to understand what that meant. Harleys are fun-loving and that's why the Harlequin Sheep Society & Registry refers to the as the "fun" mini sheep.