Gotland Sheep - Rare in the US
Genetics Percentage Matters.
The Gotland breed is uncommon in the US. Due to livestock importation restrictions, it's being established in the US via artificial insemination and embryo implantation into one of ten "foundation" breeds in the US. Using "upbreeding," the goal is to develop the breed here as closely as possible to the real deal - the Swedish Gotland.
Three Northern short-tailed breeds, the Shetland Sheep, Icelandic Sheep, and the Finnsheep, and seven longwool breeds including the Wensleydale, Lincoln, Cotswold, English Leicester, Border Leicester, Bluefaced Leicester, and the Teeswater constitute the approved foundation breeds.
Over generations of upbreeding, US breeders are now achieving into the 80th and 90th percentiles of pure Gotland genetics - significant enough that the percentages are calculated out to hundredths, and beyond! Bloodlines are also traced back to countries they're sourced from, such as Sweden, New Zealand, and the UK. Each country and foundation breed contributes unique characteristics.
Rams chosen for Artificial Insemination are very carefully selected, and must meet specific standards of excellence. As the goal is to achieve the Swedish Gotland standards, rams now sourced are out of Sweden, although the bloodlines of other countries and foundation breeds will continue to manifest for some time.
The few breeders who initiated the project have worked hard, diligently, and creatively to develop a program to bring this darling Scandinavian to the US. At this point, the greater the Gotland genetics percentage, the more valuable the animal.
We're pretty excited about that because our herd currently ranges up to 99.7071%!