Breed History (from NABSSAR)
The BABYDOLL Southdown is a sheep of the early Southdown type imported into the U.S. and seen in England in the 1800's through the early 1900's. They are 18" to 24" at the shoulder and display the original Southdown type and characteristics. The Southdown breed of sheep originated in the South "Downs" of Sussex County, England, and is one of the oldest of the Down breeds. English farms kept these sheep for their flavorful meat and fine fleece. By the 1960's, producers and consumers desired larger carcasses, and the smaller sheep were crossed with larger sheep to produce a larger Southdown which make up the background of the larger American Southdown which are not to be confused with the BABYDOLL Southdown. Around 1990, small flocks of the smaller type Southdowns were gathered up and labeled Olde English BABYDOLL Southdown to differentiate them from the larger modern American Southdown.
Today, known simply as BABYDOLL Southdown, the BABYDOLL sells well in the companion and 4-H markets and is valued in vineyards, sustainable agriculture, and organic farming. Their wool is favored among spinners and fiber artists who enjoy fine wool with remarkable spring. They also have select carcass value for the table, an attribute not shared by most other miniature breeds. Today's breeders believe breed preservation is of utmost importance and strive to keep this wonderful breed of sheep from forever being lost.