To our knowledge, the first Perendale sheep imported to North America were introduced in 1977 by Norlaine Schultz of Montgomery County, Maryland. Norlaine imported Perendale sheep directly from New Zealand, and maintained a flock of approximately 60 ewes before dispersing her flock in the early 2010s. Some of her Perendale rams were purchased by Linda Tesdahl (Lazy Ewe Farm, Mt. Airy, Maryland), who crossed them with Cheviot ewes to produce a flock primarily used to train Border collies; this cross stands up well to being worked by dogs (if worked properly!) without turning “sour” or overdogged. Many of these Perendale x Cheviot crosses (and some pure or high % Perendale rams) have been sold to sheepdog handlers throughout the Mid Atlantic and New England area. Some of Norlaine’s sheep were also sold to start Perendale flocks in California (Seven Hills Land and Cattle Company), Washington State (Clover Country Farm, who used to maintain a registry for Perendale sheep), and Utah. These flocks have since been dispersed.
Most purebred Perendales in North America at this point trace back to a flock previously owned by Marta Sullivan (Currow Hill Ranch in California). Marta’s flock started in 1989 when she purchased eight ewes and two rams from a couple in southern Utah. These sheep had been purchased from Norlaine by the couple’s son, who had recently passed away. Four more ewes and one ram were subsequently purchased by Marta from Norlaine. Marta also made efforts to improve the quality of her flock (which eventually reached 50 ewes) by importing semen from several top rams in New Zealand for artificial insemination (AI).
Marta (a handspinner since 1971) diversified her flock by introducing natural colored (NC; “black”) sheep (which she bred up to a high or pure % Perendale); Marta also imported semen from an NC ram in NZ for AI. Marta served as the Secretary for the Perendale Association of North America (PANA) before dispersing her flock in 2013. A portion of her flock (two NC ewes, two white ewes, and two white rams) was sold in 2012 to Linda Tesdahl in Maryland; the remainder of Marta’s flock (both white and NC) was sold to Jill Hackett (Ferndale Farms, Humbolt County, CA). At that point the registry lapsed. Jill and Linda both bred some of their ewes via AI using semen originally imported by Marta. Jill has continued to import semen from top NZ Perendale studs to broaden the genetics of her flock.
In 2015, Lynn Roberts (Lucky Lane Farm, White Hall, MD) purchased ten white Perendale x Cheviot ewes and two pure Perendale rams from Linda Tesdahl. In 2017 Lynn also bought two high % NC ewes and one NC Perendale ram from Linda. Finally, in 2018, Lynn purchased ten older ewes from Jill Hackett (all originally bred by Marta; four white and six NC). These twelve ewes, in addition to the high % Perendale ewes “bred up” by crossing Perendale rams with Perendale x Cheviot ewes, constitute the foundation of Lucky Lane Farm’s flock. In 2020, Lynn reinstated a breed association (North American Perendale Association; NAPA) and registry for Perendale sheep in North America. Lynn is currently in the process of importing semen from NZ rams for AI, emphasizing parasite resistance, wool quality, and weaning weight (100+ days), all highly heritable characteristics.
From these beginnings, new Perendale flocks have been started in several locations, presently including Virginia; North Carolina; and West Virginia. Please visit our Breeders Directory to locate a flock near you.
The downside of Perendale sheep in North America is that there are relatively few purebred sheep. The upside is that existing breeders in North American of registered Perendale sheep are highly committed to maintaining this breed by importing semen from top NZ rams; these figure prominently in the pedigrees of Perendale sheep in North America.
A pair of twins, conceived via AI with semen imported from NZ by JT Hackett, just transitioning to pasture at 2 months of age. The dam (center) was herself conceived via AI, so this pair of lambs owes 75% of their genetics to recently-imported semen from top NZ rams. White ram lamb on the left is currently producing lambs at Chinook’s Acres in Laingsburg, MI, while the NC ewe lamb on the right is due to produce her second crop of lambs in 2024 at Lucky Lane Farm. Photo credit: L. Roberts, Lucky Lane Farm.
At present, semen are available in the US from close to half a dozen Perendale rams, all imported from New Zealand. Plans are currently under way to import semen from two additional Perendale rams in time for Fall 2024 breeding. Both of these (unrelated) rams are from a flock that has emphasized outstanding parasite resistance and minimal input, while not sacrificing fleece quality. We anticipate being able to sell straws to interested Perendale breeders for approximately $100 each (one straw will inseminate one ewe). For more information, contact [email protected] .