West African Dwarf sheep

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The West African Dwarf or Djallonké is an African breed or group of breeds of domestic sheep. It is the dominant breed of West and Central Africa.[1] This breed is primarily raised for meat.[2]


The West African Dwarf is generally white or piebald, the front half being black and the back half white. However, skewbald (tan on white) and the black belly pattern are found, and the Kirdi type are specially selected to be entirely black. Rams weigh approximately 37 kg (82 lb), have a well-developed throat ruff and are usually horned. The horns are wide at the base, curve backwards, outwards and then forwards again, with a maximum of one and a half coils. Ewes weigh about 25 kg (55 lb) and are usually polled (hornless), but may have slender short horns. The ears are short and pendulous, the neck is long and slender, the chest is deep, the legs are short, the back is long and dished, higher at the withers than at the tail-head, and the tail reaches the hocks.[1][3]

On average, ewes produce 1.15 to 1.50 lambs per lambing.[1] This breed grows slowly as evaluated in Nigeria in the last 1970s. The overall growth rates from 0–90, 91–150 and 151–350 days old were 74, 49 and 34 g/day, respectively.[4] This breed is also highly tolerant of trypanosome.[5] This breed is thought to go into oestrus throughout the year.[6]


The West African Dwarf sheep is found in West Africa, its range extending from Senegal to Chad, Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo. It is adapted for life in humid forested area, sub-humid areas and savannahs. The Kirdi or Poulfouli is a wholly black variant found in northern Cameroon and southwestern Chad.[3]

During the colonial era, German and French rulers exported West African Dwarf sheep or (Djallonké) to France and Germany. These usually ended up in private collections and zoos. The animals selected for export to Europe were almost all of the black belly color type. The chestnut-colored drawing is not prevalent in the Djallonké, but only one of many. Today these sheep are called Cameroon sheep or Cameroon Dwarf sheep in Europe. And incorrectly regarded as a separate breed. The International West African Dwarf Specialist Group of the African Ornamental Breeders Association (AOBA) considers what Europeans call the Cameroon sheep just a color type and not a separate breed.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "West African Dwarf". Breeds of Livestock. Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Animal Science. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  2. ^ "West African Dwarf/Benin". Breed Data Sheet. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
  3. ^ a b R. T. Wilson (1991). Small Ruminant Production and the Small Ruminant Genetic Resource in Tropical Africa. Food & Agriculture Organisation. pp. 158–164. ISBN 978-92-5-102998-5.
  4. ^ Mack, S.D. "Evaluation of the productivities of West African dwarf sheep and goats in southwest Nigeria". International Livestock Research Institute. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  5. ^ Mawuena, K, High degree of tolerance to trypanosomes in West African dwarf sheep and goats of the South Guinea regions of Togo. Comparison with trypanotolerant cattle }
  6. ^ Ngere, L. O. and Dzakuma J. M. (1975). "The effect of sudden introduction of rams on oestrus pattern of tropical ewes". Journal of Agricultural Science. Cambridge. 84 (2): 263–264. doi:10.1017/S0021859600052382.
  7. ^ "West African Dwarf Sheep Breed Standard". ornamental-breeders.org. Retrieved 2020-02-03.