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Norwegian Dala sheep, (17-19)

Norwegian Dala sheepThe Norwegian Dala sheep is the most numerous breed of sheep in Norway and is wide spread throughout the country. The breed originates from cross-breeding between the Norwegian Spael sheep and Leicester sheep in the 1800s. Later Cheviot and possibly Oxford down sheep were crossed into the breed. After 1960, other breeds have been crossed into the Dala breed, such Texel, Finnsheep and other Norwegian breeds. The Dala breed is bred for both meat and wool. The sheep are mostly white (10% black) and both rams and ewes are polled with long tails. The wool is uniform with mean fibre diameter of 35.5 micron. The mean greasy fleece weight is around 3.5 kg. The wool is used for many purposes, mostly yarn for hand-knitting and machine knitting. Woolskins and nappa leather are made out of the pelts. Adult wither height is 78 cm for rams and live weight of ewes is 70-80 kg. The mean litter size is 1.88 lambs at birth and 1.51 weaned. Mean carcass weight of lambs is 18.5 kg when slaughtered at the age of 6 months. The majority of carcasses falls into grade O in the EUROP classification system.
The population numbers around 140,000 breeding ewes. The number of Dala sheep, defined as a separate breed, is decreasing because it is now (since 2001) part of the combined breeding population of Norwegian white sheep together with the other long tailed sheep breeds, mostly Steigar and Rygja sheep. A small population of so-called pure-bred Dala sheep, that does not contain the influence from the crossings made after 1960, is kept separate from the main flock.
See more on Breeds of Livestock:

Local name: Dalasau
Mona G. Holtet. Norwegian Agricultural Museum, Pb 5104, 1432 s, Norway.
Geir Steinheim, Agric. Univ. Norway - Dept. of Animal and Aquaculture Sciences







List of North European sheep breeds:
Ålands sheep
Cheviot sheep
-Dala sheep
Dala fur sheep
Danish landrace sheep
Estonian Ruhnu sheep
Faeroe sheep
Fine wool sheep Finnish Grey landrace

Forest sheep
Fuglestad sheep
Gotland sheep
Greenland sheep Grey Troender sheep
Gute sheep
Icelandic leader sheep
Icelandic sheep
Latvian darkheaded sheep
Lithuanian coarse wool sheep
Norwegian feral sheep  

Norwegian Old Spael sheep
Norwegian Spael sheep
Romanov sheep
Roslags sheep Russian Viena sheep
Rya sheep
Rygja sheep
Steigar sheep
Texel sheep
White faced Marsh


Created by ThEP and EE Edited by Emma Eythorsdottir for the North SheD group.
Agricultural Research Institute of Iceland.