About The Alliance

For almost 15 years there has been much concern about the 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:

Tools to Communicate

  1. We will maintain an online, free list of Karakul Breeders, just by giving us a little information about your sheep on the Farm & Flock Finder form or online at Flock Finder.
  2. Classified advertising under For Sale is available for a small fee. See the Advertise tab to write your ad.
  3. Our Sheep Wanted page is one of our most popular. New breeders or those wanting to expand their flock frequently post here. Check often for possible sales.
  4. Breed information and historical Articles are accessible, updated frequently, and edited by long-time dedicated Karakul breeders. You are welcome to submit News and article drafts to info@karakulshepherds.org
  5. We have initiated a Blog to allow conversations to flow. Although it has not been utilized as envisioned in 2014 when The Alliance was started, it is currently intended that the Blog will be used for special notices and information sharing on new website topics posted. Plans are for blog messages to be archived by topic and date for later access and publication in a new Karakul handbook. Add your comments to existing blog conversations and/or start a new one by writing about what works as you shepherd these unique sheep.

Locate the Flocks

We have found Karakul counts from The Livestock Conservancy (LC) to be especially low because they have been using only lambs registered per year for decisions on their Conservation Priority List. The Alliance offered to provide the LC with a total head count—flock size, not just annual sheep registration numbers. This is common for breeds that do not register every animal. Check out the 2017 Census Results. They exceeded our expectations; however we have not yet found all the US Karakul flocks. The Alliance is still trying to locate them through breeder communications and the Flock Finder form.

A roster of Karakul flocks was a logical next step for the AKSR 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. This seemed a solution, making it easy for Breeders to find each other when new breeding stock was necessary. This did not happen. The AKSR was closed by the new owner to all except currently registered sheep, 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.

Provide an Open Flock Book 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. KSAR (Karakul Shepherds Alliance Registry) 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 under How to Register Karakul Sheep. Standard fees apply for sheep registration services. There are NO membership fees for shepherds.

*Important.  Please Read.*

Registry Past and Future

The AKSR Registry which was 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 had become isolated bloodlines. Several had a history; a couple lines went back to the first importations. We began to name some of these separate bloodlines after the shepherd. But most were not ‘pure’, having been intentionally crossed with other breeds in previous years to increase numbers, get a new color or horns, to change the Karakul based on what the shepherd wanted or fashion dictated. At this point in their US 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 paper.  Although we have lost most of the large ones, sheep from the remaining unacknowledged flocks are not much different than the ones currently in the AKSR. And essentially, after 20 years, many have been isolated and will qualify as unique and valuable sources 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 July 2019

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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