About

About The Alliance

For twenty years there has been much concern about the decline in Karakul sheep and the shepherds who raise them in North America. To start to address this situation, within this website, the Karakul Shepherds Alliance is offering:

Tools to Communicate

    1. We offer a free list of Karakul Breeders, just by giving us a little information about your sheep online at Flock Finder or via the Farm & Flock Finder form.
    2. Advertising is available under the For Sale page for a small fee. Click Advertise 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. Current breeders should check this page often for possible sales.
    4. Breed information, current Articles, and Historical News 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 initiated a Blog for shepherd conversations. Although it has not been utilized as envisioned in 2014 when The Alliance was started, it is currently intended to be used for special notices and information sharing on new topics. Messages will be archived by subject and date for later access and publication in a new Karakul handbook.
    6. Karakul Shepherds Alliance has a Facebook Group page. There is also an f link in the footer of every Alliance webpage. You will be asked three questions to join our Facebook group so we get to know you a bit better. Add your comments to existing conversations, start a new one by asking questions, or write about what works as you shepherd these unique sheep.

Locate the Flocks

Alliance Advisors found Karakul counts from The Livestock Conservancy (TLC) to be quite low because lambs registered per year is used for decisions on their Conservation Priority List. The Alliance offered to provide TLC with a total US head count, 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 come close to locating all North American Karakul flocks. The Alliance continues to reach out to locate them through breeder communications and the Flock Finder.

Open Flock Book Registry

While addressing the problem of unacknowledged, isolated, and hidden Karakul flocks, there was still no way for Breeders to register those sheep, should they want to. The Karakul Shepherds Alliance Registry abbreviated KSAR, is available for shepherds who wish to have certificates for individual sheep. After evaluation of breed character by the Advisors, we can register a Karakul out of already-registered-parents, as well as lambs and adults from a new flock. Details are on the Registry page, with specific details in the Registry PolicyStandard fees apply for sheep registration services. There are NO membership fees for shepherds at this time. Our desire is to keep the Alliance as Open as possible to attract Karakul shepherds.

*Important.  Please Read.*

Registry Past and Future

The Registry started in 1985, AKSR, became a collection of Karakul sheep that were found in isolated flocks around the United States, with a few in Canada. Karakuls bred to Karakuls for several generations and isolated without new genetic input had become isolated bloodlines. Several had a history, a couple flocks went back to the first importations-1908, 1913, 1914, and 1929; these separate bloodlines were then named after the shepherd or institution who bred them. 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 the market dictated. At this point in their history, after 112 years of selection pressure, finding a true pureblood Karakul is rare. The ‘closing of the Registry’ in 2001 did not assure purity. It rather served to deplete the Karakul gene pool by eliminating new sheep from the flock book.

Establishment of KSAR’s Open Registry and acceptance of individual sheep from unacknowledged, isolated, and hidden Karakul flocks is based on the same rationale presented in literature by D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD Technical Advisor to The Livestock Conservancy.  We compiled information into our Traditional Flocks paper, and subsequently outlined that into our Registry Policy. Although we have lost most of the large ones, after 20 years many of the remaining flocks have been isolated and 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.

Deborah Hunter, Registrar and the Alliance Advisors

We are interested in your comments, suggestions, ideas, and requests you might have regarding this project. Please connect via this webpage 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 January 2021

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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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