About

About The Alliance

For more than a decade there has been much concern about the drastic decline in Karakul sheep and the shepherds who raise them in the US. To start to address this situation, within this website, we are offering three services.

Tools to Communicate

  1. We have initiated a Blog to allow conversations to flow. Hopefully it will work for you. Add your comments to existing blog conversations and/or start a new one by writing about what works as you shepherd these unique sheep. All messages will be archived by topic and date for later access.
  2. Breed information and historical articles are accessible here, edited by long-time dedicated Karakul breeders. You are welcome to submit article drafts to info@karakulshepherds.org
  3. We will maintain an online, free list of Karakul Breeders, just by giving us a little information about your sheep on the Farm and Flock/Census form or online at Karakul Census.
  4. Classified advertising under For Sale is available for a small fee. See the Advertise tab to write your ad.

Locate the Flocks

A roster of Karakul flocks was a logical next step for the existing Registry at the time it changed hands in 2000. This is because Karakuls are a breed that is raised, often in large flocks, by many breeders who do not have a need or desire to register individual animals. A Roster or Registry of Flocks seemed a solution, making it easy for Breeders to find each other when new breeding stock was necessary. This did not happen. The AKSR Registry was closed by the new owner and a large number of Karakul flocks were not recognized or acknowledged. We have since lost most of those sheep. But hopefully there are a few left and with your cooperation they will be found.

The Livestock Conservancy has been concerned about the Karakuls’ demise for many years. We found their counts to be especially low because they have been using only number of lambs registered each year for decisions on their Conservation Priority List. The current population is definitely low, but not that low. We are offering to provide them with an annual total head count—flock size, not just lambs. This is common for breeds that do not register every animal. A sheep count, of course, requires your willingness to cooperate. We hope you will join the count at Karakul Census online or via the Farm and Flock/Census form.

Provide an Official Open Registry

While addressing the problem of ‘unacknowledged’ Karakul flocks, there was still no way for Breeders to register any of their stock, should they want to. We needed to make available an official Registry service, after evaluation of breed character, for shepherds who wish to have certificates for individual sheep. With the Registry service offered by Karakul Shepherds Alliance we can register a lamb or adult out of already-registered-parents, as well as lambs and adults from a new flock. Details are on the Registry page. Standard fees are applied.

Important.  Please Read.

Registry Past and Future

The AKSR Registry started in 1985 became a collection of Karakul sheep that were found in isolated flocks around the US. Karakuls bred to Karakuls for several generations and isolated without new genetic input for a number of years become landrace bloodlines. Several had a history. We began to refer to some of these flocks as separate bloodlines, usually named after the Shepherd. But most were not ‘pure’, having been intentionally crossed with other breeds, in previous years, to get a new color, or horns, to increase numbers. At this point in their history, finding a true pureblood Karakul is rare. The ‘closing of the Registry’ in 2000 did not assure purity. It rather served to deplete the Karakul gene pool by eliminating new sheep evaluations from the registration process.

Establishment of the Alliance’s Open Flock Registry and acceptance of individual sheep from ‘unacknowledged’ flocks is based on the same rationale presented in literature by D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD Technical Advisor to The Livestock Conservancy, which we have compiled into our Traditional Flocks-Landrace paper.  Although we have lost most of the large ones, the remaining ‘unacknowledged’ flocks are not much different than the ones currently in the AKSR. And essentially, after 15 years, many have been isolated and will qualify as unique and valuable source of bloodlines for North American Karakul sheep.

This is our premise and our motivation for this project. We look forward to meeting you or re-connecting.

Julia and Deborah

We are interested in your comments, suggestions, ideas, requests that you might have regarding this project. Please connect with us via this Blog post by typing in the box below Leave a Reply and hitting Post Comment, or email in private: info@karakulshepherds.org   Thank you.

Page last updated April 2017

To return, click Home Page here OR

Click on KARAKUL SHEPHERDS ALLIANCE title at top of the page

3 Comments on “About

    • There are no requirements for joining. All you have to do is check back as often as you can and participate in our blog–ask questions and offer advice for what works for you with your Karakuls.

  1. Hi, I learned about the Karakul Sheep on the Livestock Conservancy website and Kathy from Checkmate Farm’s was kind enough to refer me to your site. Do you have any Karakul breeders in MT or WY? I will check out the CO Breeders as that would be our next closest.

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