Sheep Color Genetics

I want to begin this post by saying that I am in no way an expert on genetics! I have the rudimentary knowledge that one gains from several college biology courses.  I am just learning how to classify my sheep’s genetics.  In my quest to discover more about sheep color genetics, I have found a wealth of information on the internet published by Shetland, Gotland, Icelandic, Finn and other sheep breeders.  I will include the sites on the Links page.

The first link is by Shetland breeder Lanette Scapillatto – Color Genetics of Icelandic, Shetland, and Finnsheep.  This information is based on work by Stefan Adalsteinsson, PhD in 1970 and the World Congress of Coloured Sheep in 1989.  Click on the site for specifics.  The information on this site is clearly presented.

The next link is the fantastic information on color genetics presented by Shetland breeders, Linda Wendelboe and Kathy Baker.  In addition to genetics information, their site has a wealth of information and photos on the Shetland breed, patterns, fiber, etc.

At Tongue River Farm, Susan Mongold raises Icelandic sheep.  She wrote an article on  Color Genetics in Icelandic Sheep.  Her article was published in The Shepherd Magazine in June 1997.

Franna Pitt, PhD raises Shetlands and Gotland sheep at Ever Ranch.  She has published a detailed paper entitled Colored Genetics of Gotland Sheep in North America.  I have only begun to study this paper and it is excellent.

Franna’s paper pointed me to Deer Run Sheep Farm‘s website which has a paper written by D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD, on Color Genetics in Coopworth Sheep.  Even if you are not interested in genetics, check out this website because it is packed full of fiber, farm and website design related links!  A big thank-you to the Martha and Jim McGrath for their fabulous site!

And finally, Yahoo has a group on sheep color genetics.  There are frequent and interesting discussions on color genetics of various breeds of sheep on this Yahoo group.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Martha McGrath on 06/08/2010 at 9:20 AM

    I just found your website while searching for Colour Inheritance in Icelandic Sheep. Thanks for the kind words about my website!
    Martha at Deer Run Sheep Farm



  2. Do you know of a resource for longwool breeds or Tunis? I have some crosses I’m trying to make sense of.



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