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The Gotland Upbreeding Program
Gotland Upbreeding: FAQ
In 2006 the first Gotland genetics were brought into North America. Ten breeds of sheep that were similar to the Gotland in ancestry, breed category, and physical characteristics were selected to be "Foundation Breeds." These included three Short-Tailed breeds - Finnsheep, Icelandic, and Shetland, and seven Longwool Breeds - Bluefaced Leicester, Border Leicester, Cotswold, English Leicester, Lincoln Longwool, Wensleydale, and Teeswater.
As a biosecurity measure, it is illegal to import sheep into the US. A deadly sheep disease called Scrapie is highly contagious and incurable, and there is no vaccine. As such, semen is imported from Sweden, the UK, and New Zealand to ensure a broad spectrum of bloodlines. Gotland producers take great care to avoid significant overlap in pedigrees, and strive to increase the percentage of Gotland genetics in each subsequent generation.
Breeders are now consistently producing herds in the 90th percentiles of pure Gotland genetics, and that detail is significant enough that calculating to the hundredths and thousandths is common, even expected! Of higher importance are fleece quality, conformation, and disposition. The goal is to produce as close to the real deal in all respects as possible.
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