Bapedi Skaap Telersgenootskap van Suid Afrika

Bapedi Sheep Breeders Society of South Africa




Frikkie Bezuidenhout

Vice President

Frikkie van Kraayenburg


Ronel Bezuidenhout


Wimpie Pieterse

Andre Wichtmann

Hans Arp

Prof Piet vd Merwe

Keith Ramsey

Grobbie Grobler

Chris van Rensburg

PO Box 61


Tshwane 0068


Tel 072 219-2188

Fax (012) 376-2330



Last Updated:

 25 February 2010

Breed Standard of the  Bapedi Sheep

 Revised: 6 January 2006


The Breed Standard of Bapedi Sheep is controlled by the Bapedi Breeders Association of South Africa, which is in turn affiliated to the South African Stud Book and Livestock Improvement Association as incorporated in terms of Act 25 of 1977.


In the event of this English version contradicting the Afrikaans version, the Afrikaans version will be regarded as correct.


The Bapedi Sheep


Bapedi sheep occur south of the Soutpansberg and are typical of indigenous sheep. The Pedi is a sheep that is easy to farm with and that produces a good quality meat and hide.


1.    General


The Bapedi sheep is primarily a veld sheep with a relatively fine frame. The ewes are relatively small and feminine when compared to the rams, which are masculine and alert. The breed is adapted to a harsh environment and can tolerate various stressful circumstances. The breed can walk long distances and the diet consists of grass, bushes and leaves. The Pedi is robust and has a large tolerance against the usual diseases and parasites. The meat is tender and tasty. Most of the fat is localised in the tail. Functional efficiency is of the highest importance.


2.    Breed Characteristics


The breed is a naturally polled hair sheep with a wedge shaped tail. The length of the tail can vary with a maximum length between the hocks and the hooves. The breed has a lively appearance with a comfortable gait and strong flock characteristics. The breed is also fertile and the ewes have strong maternal instincts and are very protective towards their lambs. The teeth are strong and hard, which ensures longevity.


3.    Head


The breed has a roman type nose that is more prominent in rams. Scurs can occur in rams. Eyes are of average size, bright and brown in colour. The eyes are further protected by well developed eyebrows and movable eyelids. The ears are small, of average length and angle 45o downwards. The ewes have a small dewlap extending from the jaw to the neck. This dewlap is larger in rams.


4.    Size


A relatively small framed sheep with a typical symmetrical respiratory type build. Adult ewes measure from 60cm at the withers. The torso is long, oval and horizontally, slightly flat. The top line over the head is concave, extends downwards in the neck, upwards over the shoulder and downwards again over the back and again upwards over the rump with a typically downward sloping croup.  The legs are relatively long and thin, but strong and well placed.  Strong and well constructed and well pigmented hooves and preferably an inter digital gland. Well developed thigh muscles. Joints are relatively long and this, at an angle and shock absorbent – not short and upright.


5.    Colour and Hair


While a large variety of colours occur, the nose, eyebrows and ears must be well pigmented. The skin is pigmented, , colour varying from uniform brown through white with a red to brown head to a variety of brown and white or black and white patterns to all black.  In Pedi’s black is genetically recessive. The hair is generally short with a cashmere type under-coat, especially in winter. Young sheep tends to have longer hair with more wooliness. They loose this as they get older. Coloured areas of the skin should be glossy.


6.    Tail


A typical wedge shaped fat tail that is broad at the base and narrows carrot-like to the tip. Some animals have a shorter top part that turn upwards towards a thinner terminal tip. Spiralled tails are not acceptable. The length of the tail varies, but should not extend lower that half way between hocks and the feet.


7.    Fertility


The breed is known for high fertility with strong mothering instincts. Twins occur and ewes are capable of rearing both. Pedi Sheep mature at an early age and can be mated at an early age.


8.    Reproductive Organs


Rams have well developed testicles with a smooth mobile scrotum.


9.    Discriminatory Faults


  • Too large or too broad tail

  • Spiralled tail

  • Straight top-line

  • Flat horizontal croup

  • Lack of pigment in the hooves

  • Too woolly

  • Ears that hang flat against the cheeks

  • White heads

  • Woolly legs

  • Hooves that splay too much

  • Cow-hocks

  • Front legs not straight

  • Long, fleshy sheaths with rams

  • Too large scrotum


10.   Disqualifying Faults


  • Large deviations in body shape

  • Definite horns

  • Round or cylindrical body shapes

  • Mouse ears

  • Weak joints that bend backwards

  • Abnormally small testicles

  • Animal with only one testicle

  • Weak pasterns that touch the ground

  • A too hollow back

  • Small (pony) types

  • No pigmentation (albinos)

  • A fat croup (Persian type tail) rather than a fat tail

  • Hooves that splay excessively

  • Devils grip

  • Over- or underdeveloped top or bottom jaws




Respiratory build – A wedge shaped, vertically flattened ribcage with ribs that slant slightly in a posterior direction, causing the torso to widen in a posterior direction. This is in contrast with the cylindrical torso formed by ribs that extend perpendicularly from the spine as is typical with European sheep breeds. The advantage of a respiratory type ribcage is that the animal can breathe more economically in hot dry environments as well as that a smaller area of the torso is exposed to direct sun.


Functional efficiency – The sum total of all the breed characteristics the makes the Pedi an efficient meat sheep able to flourish in a natural veld environment at minimal cost.


Mothering Instincts – The innate instincts of an ewe to protect and rear her lamb.


Adaptability – The genetic potential of an animal to be able to adapt and survive in a variety of environmental circumstances.


Veld sheep – A sheep breed that is specifically adapted to survive in extensive circumstance with minimal care and management in contrast to breeds that only produce economically under intensive care and management.



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