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 Fanning flames of passion for three rare breeds of stunning red sheep & some wonderful big hearted dogs!


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History of Barbados Blackbelly Sheep

Barbados Blackbelly ramThe history of the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep can be considered vague at best.  The American history of the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep is a complicated compilation of stories, crossbreeding and valiant efforts to resurrect the original island sheep.

In researching this breed, there are many articles stating that the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep is indigenous to the island of Barbados in the Caribbean.  However, there are just as many articles stating that they were brought to the island from West Africa.  Obviously, they can’t be indigenous and brought in from West Africa; so for the sake of argument, let’s just say Barbados Blackbelly Sheep have become a National Treasure that has been and is carefully cultivated and closely monitored on the island of Barbados.

On to America, where the one fact that seems to be agreed upon by most. is that the initial importation of Barbados Blackbelly Sheep occurred in 1904 to the USDA Research Center in Beltsville, MD.  Beyond that information, the distribution and utilization of the imported bloodlines is limited and incomplete.  It becomes obvious that the progeny of these sheep were quickly scattered across the U.S. with no, or at least minimal, recordkeeping by the government. 

It is abundantly clear, from numerous sources, that the deep red and true black coloration of this breed attracted hunting enthusiasts who lamented the fact that the rams did not possess the trBarbados Blackbelly Ewe Lambophy horns they coveted.  This brought about crossbreeding with Mouflon, Corsican and Rambouillet to fill the demand. Ultimately creating a new horned version of the Barbados Blackbelly which would turn into what is known today as the American Blackbelly. 

Information on the polled animals is limited to short references to small or family farm operations.  Many of these small flocks were maintained as training tools for herding dogs and exhibited nervousness and flight responses when handled.  For many years the breed has suffered from a reputation of being difficult to handle.  The creation of a registry in 1996 and the splitting of the "Barbado" (a name commonly used prior to the establishment of the Registry) into American Barbados (horned) and Barbados Blackbelly (polled) in 2004, marked a new beginning for the Barbados Blackbelly in American.  With the support of the ALBC (American Livestock Breed Conservancy), and several University Projects, the Barbados Blackbelly is enjoying a comeback.  Conscientious breeders are quickly re-establishing numbers and building a better reputation for the breed.  

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