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Dartmoor or Greyface Dartmoor - download a printable PDF

The Greyface Dartmoor is also known as the Dartmoor or "Improved" Dartmoor.

Attractive, quiet and easily handled the Dartmoor have their enthusiasts throughout the country and provide a natural focal point whenever they appear.

Descended from the local breeds, which grazed the low ground in and around Dartmoor, they have immense strength of constitution developed through withstanding the severe winters and exposed conditions, which exist around the Moor. Improvements were carried out during the 19th century using the local Longwools (Notts) and the Leicester.

The Association was established in 1909 to standardise, promote and develop the breed, which was well established in three areas, South Hams, Chagford and Tavistock. Today flocks are kept throughout England, Wales and south of Scotland. Breeding stock has been exported.


The Dartmoor fleece is classified as Lustre Longwool.

A medium sized sheep (approx. 60kg), hornless, deep bodied, short legged, with well woolled head and legs. The white face should be mottled or spotted with black or grey with matching feet. The short straight legs are well covered with wool. A clip of 7-9kg can be expected with a higher yield (up to 15kg) from mature rams. Traditionally the long, curly, lustre wool was used for blankets, serge, carpets and cloth. The wool is not coloured. Staple length 25-30cms with a Bradford count of 36-40.

The ewes are good milkers, capable of rearing twins. A lambing of about 140% can be expected with the heavy milking docile ewes rearing them quickly. Some clipping around the udder may be required to ensure easy access for the newly born lambs. Traditionally lambs are shorn before the first of July.


All County Shows in the South West together with many in West Midlands and North Wales have designated classes for the Greyface Dartmoor. Many local shows in the southwest have classes for the Greyface.


Currently only ram lambs are inspected on the breeder`s farm for registration in the autumn. Until 2001 all lambs were inspected at a number of venues across the country but under current regulations this is not practical. Registered sheep are marked with the Dartmoor Association coloured plastic tags.

The ewe tag will have the initials DM in a logo, year of birth, flock number and unique number (e.g. DM 1996 201 12). For rams the Association 4 digit number is used e.g. 5693, DM logo and year of birth. All registered sheep should have these tags in addition to the UK number.

Scale of Points

The following scale of points has been drawn up to assist breeders. The figure in brackets denotes the maximum number of points available in each category.

Face[15] Medium length with good square mouth, expanded nostrils and nicely spotted or mottled with black or grey. Eyes full and bright, head medium size, flat between the ears and well covered with good curly wool.
Ears[10] Medium length (in proportion with size of sheep), thick and well covered inside and out with smooth white hair. They should be nicely carried and tan coloured inside.
Neck[5] Medium length, arched round and strong where it joins the shoulder.
Shoulders[5] Fairly wide on top and sloping.
Breast[5] Deep, wide and prominent.
Back[20] Straight and level, loin wide, thick and flat, tail broad, thick and well set up.
Ribs[5] Well sprung with good deep flank.
Legs[10] Straight, short and placed well apart, with good bone. Hind legs should be well filled down with flesh and covered with wool.
Feet[5] Should be large, with good joints and be well spotted or mottled with black or grey to match the face.
Fleece[20] The sheep should be evenly covered all over with a coat of long, curly lustre wool of wide staple and good quality; thick in the skin, which should be fine, soft and pink.



Last modified: 09 December 2008 17:59 : ( Forum page: 09 August 2010 12:49)