General Appearance:  
The General Character and
Appearance of the Sheep
represented by the United
Horned Hair Sheep
Association, Inc., should be
one of a noble animal. The
sheep should look like an
athlete with a lean, sleek
form. The sheep are not
Painted Desert Sheep Conformation
Click Here to go to the Lazy JV Ranch Home Page
Showing Painted
Desert Sheep
Painted Desert Sheep
Characteristics Home Page
Go To Showing Your
Painted Desert Sheep
NOSE: Young lambs typically have a straight
profile. As ewes age, some may display a slight
roman nose (elevated area on the nose bridge seen
when viewed from the side profile) while many will
maintain the straight profile. As the rams age, a
slight to moderate roman nose (elevated area on
the nose bridge seen when viewed from the side
Should be well balanced and
proportional to the body and
held high when the sheep is
alerted. Ewes should have a
more feminine face and
features than the rams. The
profile) may be displayed. One may note a bigger elevation on the nose bridge
during times association with breeding cycles or during an increase in sparring
activity among rams.The Nose and Muzzle can be any color, reflecting the many
colors and patterns which occur in the PaintedDesert Sheep Breed.
purely a meat breed but are more for multiple markets  and may not necessarily
weigh nor exhibit the deep and heavy muscling of sheep which are considered purely
meat breeds
back of the head of mature rams may display a slight
to extreme rounded hump behind the horn base. This is
part of the rams’ physical frame which helps cushion
the brain during any sparring
COAT:  The Painted Desert Sheep is considered a hair or shedding sheep. These
sheep actually have two coats: a hair type coat and usually a more wooly
undercoat. The undercoat may resemble a thicker hair to a more wool type look
and texture. This undercoat grows during cool weather and will naturally shed off
when warmer weather arrives. In colder climates, some sheep may exhibit a 3
inch or more full winter undercoat; however, the undercoat should completely
shed off without shearing when warm weather arrives with the exceptions of lambs
and some yearlings.
The ability of the sheep to grow and shed the undercoat, may lead to only partial
shedding for a time in various climates. A complete shedding generally occurs by
May, June or early July. The exact time for a complete and natural shedding
depends on the climate. Lambs and some yearlings may not shed totally
till the next year. Painted Desert sheep with possible close Mouflon breed
influence, may have a slight shedding of coarse guard hairs in the fall, dependent
of the climate.The complete and natural shedding ability is important in
maintaining ease of care and a lack of such shedding may be indicative of parent
breeds in the background that are not desirable or of having wool
parent breeds in the recent background.
Ears should be parallel to the ground or at slightly higher angles. A very slight
angle below parallel to the ground is noticeable at times; however, the ears
should become parallel or higher when on alert. While at birth, lambs may
display droopy ears, especially those who are part of a multiple birth; however,
the ear(s) should straighten up within a few days. Otherwise, ears must not
droop enough to be considered floppy. Such ears would tend to indicate
cross-breeding in the background of the sheep. Naturally occurring (not due to
injury or other difficulties) droopy ears are a disqualification for registration.
Ears generally should come to a slight point at the tip and not be completely
rounded in shape. Elf ears (ears with external cartilage which is generally 1/2
inch to 3 inches in length and exhibiting a more v-
shaped ear) and Gopher ears (ears without visible external cartilage or with less
than 1/2 inch) are acceptable. Natural ears may vary in length but are generally
in the range of 3 - 4 inches.
Eyes should be bright and alert and must be free from genetic eyelid defects
such as Entropion. The colors of the eyes vary from dark brown, golden brown to
amber with some blue eyes appearing in sheep with Jacob bloodlines.
Incisor teeth should meet the dental pad. A severe and distinct space between
the incisor teeth and the dental pad is a disqualification. Sheep should not have
an extreme overbite (parrot mouth) or underbite (monkey jaw).
Normal                                Overbite                                    Underbite
The shoulders should be developed and muscled proportionally to the size of the
sheep. They should flow into the ribs (well laid into the ribs). The withers (area
between the shoulder blades along the top line) may be elevated with rams
exhibiting a more pronounced and higher elevated wither. Some sheep may
have a completely straight top-lines and no elevation.
The width of the chest of most Painted Desert Sheep will be narrow to moderate
with a more athletic look proportional to the size of the sheep. The width of the
front of the sheep should not be greater than the width of the back of the sheep
to facilitate lambing.
Continuing after a smooth transition from straight or elevated withers, the back
should be strong, level and relatively smooth. The Back may tend in width to
look lean, sleek, and athletic. The back is proportioned to the height of the
sheep and is generally not longer than the height.
Ribs should be well sprung. Abdomen should allow for multiple births and be
proportional for smaller sized ewes; however, Mouflon sheep and high content
Mouflon ewes are primarily shaped and geared toward single births.
The bottom line should not be tucked in at the fore flank nor the rear flank.
The Legs should be sound and proportioned to size of individual sheep may vary
greatly in size. Sheep will have long athletic legs, usually longer than body
height from bottom line to top line. Rams will generally have thicker legs then
Legs should have a conformationally correct appearance. Front legs should not
be knock kneed, bowlegged, buck-kneed or calf kneed. Rear Legs should not be
cow hocked, sickle hocked or post legged. Lower Legs on both front and rear
legs should not toe in (angle inward/pigeon toed) or toe out (angle outward/splay
footed) too much. Pasterns should be strong and correct.
A nice four
square  stance
is desired
with legs
nicely in line
with the body
of the sheep.
Tail lengths vary.  Shorter tails are preferred.  Tails should not be “round”
and should be more “flat“.  A tail that is reaching to the hocks is discriminated
against.  A tail past the hocks is a disqualification.
 Rams must have horns
 At least 2 colors with a separately distinguishable area of white which shows on registration photos. United
Horned Hair Sheep Association, Inc., reserves the right to request additional photos showing horns, coat or
other attributes of the sheep for which registration or recording is requested.
 Solid colored and sheep without separately distinguishable area of white which shows on registration photos
may be RECORDED if both parents are registered Painted Desert Sheep.
 Known background of only Painted Desert, Texas Dall, Black Hawaiian, Desert Sand, Mouflon, Corsican
Sheep and wool parent breeds of Horned Rambouilet, Merino, Jacob, and Navajo Churro.
 1/8th or less of wool parent breeds
 Sheep at maturity exhibiting shedding ability

 Rams’ horns which touch the face at maturity
 For multi horned animals - fused horns
 Extra Teats on ewes
 Slight under or over bite, with teeth just barely touching the edge of the dental pad
 Sheep which do not shed out completely at maturity on a general basis
 Mature rams with no mane at any time
 Tails reaching to the hocks
 Sheep with known recent polled bloodlines
 Rams which are polled or have scurs at maturity
 Tails past the hocks
 Docked tails
 Sheep with more than 1/8th known wool breeding from the parent breeds - Horned Rambouliet,
Merino,           Navajo Churro, or Jacob
 Sheep with any known wool breeding from any non-parent wool breed
 One or both testicles not descended
 Severe under or over bite, with distinct space between teeth and edge of dental pad
 Evidence of cross breeding shown by physical appearance of breeds which are not included in
 the history or background of Painted Desert Sheep such as Suffolk, Hampshire, Dorper, Katahdin,
 St Croix, etc.
 Entropion (inverted eye lids) or other genetic eyelid defects
 Naturally occurring droopy or floppy ears on adults