Seeking Karakul Artifacts and Stories

For Writing the History of North American Karakul Sheep – US & Canada

Why study Karakul history?

Because it is not just about the history, but about the collection of personalities, the people involved with Karakul sheep after the first US import in December 1908. Many were in it for the money, several wanted notoriety on top of that, one lost family then his life, one lost fortune and secured his family, prosperity made and lost; the stories are fascinating. The pioneer breeders all cared passionately about Karakul sheep and wanted to see them succeed in this country. I cannot imagine the extreme disappointment many of them felt when the Persian lamb fur market collapsed in the late 1940s, and prices never came back. By the mid-50s fashion had changed and furs were no longer in style.

Since then the breed’s purpose has changed, enthusiasm has been re-charged. More than a century after their pioneer innovative shepherding there are new breeders so enthusiastic about this captivating, ancient breed of sheep. I appreciate more now what Karakul pioneers did and what they were forced to give up to have these special sheep.

American and Canadian Karakul sheep are linked through the 1913 and 1914 importations. Approximately 160 Karakuls were in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island for a two-year study. The 24 best fur-bearing sheep were imported to New York state in 1916; the rest stayed in Canada. Years later, hundreds of Karakul sheep came into the US from Canada and were influential in the development of regional bloodlines.

It is my hope that you are, or become, as fascinated and intrigued by North American Karakul sheep history as I am.

See the link Historical News for short-stories of the past.

**Do you have Karakul history you would like to donate?**

I am a librarian and former shepherdess of the breed. I love Karakul history! Much has been lost, but pieces are coming together! The search for reliable documentation will remain an ongoing project as a historical North American Karakul collection is developed that will hopefully, one day be turned into an archive and donated to a museum.

I am looking for 20th century Karakul:

  •     Articles
  •     Letters
  •     Photos
  •     Magazines
  •     Large flock books
  •     Former Registry record books
  •     Registrations from any US Karakul registry
  •     Information on Canadian Karakuls from 1914 – present

I am seeking five issues of either the Karakul Journal or the Fur Farming Journal 1948, March through December. Could be numbered vol 1 or vol 2.  These have been hard to find and so far seem to be missing from history. I would like to locate a copy if possible.

I am looking for anything on the United Karakul Registry, Twin Falls, Idaho. It operated from about 1940 to 1954, then abruptly ceased (both registry operations and publication of the Fur Farming Journal). This was a large influential registry that operated for almost a decade and a half. Official documents have been quite difficult to find.

Also looking for any information on smaller regional registries: Bay State Karakul Registry (Massachusetts), National Purebred Karakul Fur Sheep Registry (Metamora, Michigan), California Karakul Sheep Registry, Pasadena, California.

Besides registrations and record books, specifically I am seeking director/officer lists, membership lists, promotional literature, letters to members, etc.

Contact me first, but most shipping fees will be reimbursed after receipt.

**I would also appreciate written memories or recollections about Karakul sheep from 20th Century flocks, especially Canadian Karakul breeders.**

Please connect with me by typing in the box below Leave a Reply and hitting Post Comment. I will receive an email but your comment will not be posted online. Or email me in private: info@karakulshepherds.org   Thank you so much!  Deborah

Deborah Hunter, Alliance Web Shepherd, updated January 2021


Click Home Page here or KARAKUL SHEPHERDS ALLIANCE title at page top

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