Babydoll Sheep Registration with the Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association

BACKGROUND

In line with our members’ wishes, the BSAA has just spent the past few years obtaining recognition for the Babydoll breed within the Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (ASSBA) Flock Book, where we were previously included under the heading Southdown. To meet with the demand for the current meat market, the modern Southdown breed has evolved so much, the Babydoll no longer fitted with the Southdown Breed Standard.


If you look at the Southdown Breed Standard, you will see it states the Southdown legs should be “of medium length”, whereas we all know Babydolls should be short in the legs. It also states there should be “no wool on face below or around the eye”, whereas the Babydoll Breed Standard does not discriminate against wool on the face of the Babydoll. In fact, most Babydolls will have wool covering on the face. Then there is the height issue with the Modern Southdown being taller with no current height restrictions. The Babydoll, on the other hand, regardless of which Breed Standard you look at, here or internationally, has a height restriction. It was clear to everyone we no longer fitted in with the Southdown Breed Standard and it was unfair for those wanting to show their Babydolls to have to compete in the Southdown class, where exhibitors were finding they did not meet Breed Standard. After a lot of work with ASSBA and Southdown Australia, we finally have our own Babydoll Flock History which is now in the 2020 Flock Register. Consequently, this is our recommended Registry.


FOUNDATION FLOCK

To enable a smooth transition from the Southdown Register to the Babydoll Register, ASSBA has stated any sheep currently in the Southdown register whose breeders wish to be moved to the new Babydoll register will be listed as Foundation Flock and their subsequent progeny will be classed as Babydolls. This Foundation Flock listing will be closed on March 1st in line with Annual Returns being sent to ASSBA. After this time, any progeny of registered Southdowns who fit the Babydoll breed standard and whose breeders wish to be moved to the Babydoll register will have to be placed in the Appendix, regardless of bloodlines. The same applies to Babydolls moving back to the Southdown register but no date applies as it is already an established Breed register.

So after March 1st, 2021, Babydolls will not be able to be moved from the Southdown register to the Babydoll register without going through the Appendix.

At no time can sheep registered as Babydolls be transferred to the Southdown register without going through the Appendix.


THE PROCESS

To register your sheep, you will need the necessary paperwork from the breeders from whom you buy your stock. The paperwork is a Registration/Transfer paper for rams and Transfer papers for ewes. This can now also be done online. If you want to register your sheep, please make sure the person from whom you purchase is registered in the Babydoll register, with ASSBA. You can check this out online as the Flock Books are on the ASSBA page and the members are listed. We often see people selling Babydolls on Gumtree who say they are registered when they are not, so please check things out.

Once you have ascertained the Babydolls can be registered, you will need to join ASSBA and choose a Stud Prefix (your chosen Farm/Stud name). Once your paperwork is complete, and you have a Flock number, your Babydolls can be transferred to you.



THE APPENDIX REGISTER

If you have crossbred stock, or small Southdowns, ASSBA has a Grading up program whereby you can register the progeny of a breeding as long as one of the pair is an ASSBA registered sheep. In this case it would be the ram as there would be little point in crossing a purebred Babydoll ewe with a ram of another breed. The progeny will be listed on the Appendix register and if you breed the subsequent female progeny to a purebred Babydoll ram each year, by the fourth generation, the sheep can be inspected by ASSBA Inspectors and if they meet the Breed Standard, they can be placed on the full Babydoll register with AF next to their names, denoting they have come from the Appendix Flock. From then on, the offspring are classified as pure Babydolls. We do encourage people to keep their ewes for breeding up but wether any ram lambs, as crossbred rams do little for any purebred breeding program. In the case of Babydolls, they still make lovely pets though or may still be small enough for vineyard or orchard work.

When purchasing Babydolls, please keep in mind IF THE SIRE AND DAM ARE NOT REGISTERED AND YOU DO NOT GET THE PAPERWORK OR INFORMATION TO COMPLETE THE ONLINE REGISTRATION, YOUR BABYDOLLS WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BE REGISTERED.

The information regarding registration and the ASSBA Appendix can be found at the back of the ASSBA Flock Book.

https://assba.com.au/edit/Flock_Books/2020%20ASSBA%20Flock%20Book.pdf?28-10-2020%2010:11:53%20AM


WHY REGISTER WITH THE AUSTRALIAN STUD SHEEP BREEDERS ASSOCIATION

The Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association is the longest serving purebred sheep Registry in Australia with the records going back to 1897.

Registering your sheep with the Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (ASSBA)

• Provides proof of purity  for purchasers and showing

• Provides a pedigree and lineage of your sheep

• Adds value to your sheep

• Allows the sheep to be counted and monitored as to numbers and rarity

• Enhances your credibility as a stud stock breeder

• Provides a record to lessen the possibility of in-breeding


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Can Southdown flocks (registered as at 2020) breeding the Babydoll type transfer across to the Babydoll register and their Southdowns be considered as foundation sheep.

Yes, they can, as long as they do so before March 1st, 2021.


2. Will these flocks retain their existing Flock number?

Yes, they will.


3. What if the breeders transfer across in the New Year of 2021? Is there a cut off date?

Yes . The cut-off date for the Foundation Flock will be March 1st, 2021, in line with the Annual Returns.


4. Is it correct once a ‘Southdown’ breeder transfers to the ‘Babydoll’ register, any additions to their flock can only be purchased from a registered ‘Babydoll’ flock; otherwise the new sheep (regardless of bloodlines) will be considered appendix?

Yes, that is correct. 


5. What happens if a new breeder purchases Babydoll type sheep (of recognised Babydoll type bloodlines) from a Southdown stud and wishes to join the Babydoll register, will their flock be considered Appendix; or will they be considered foundation sheep?

The flock will be considered Appendix, as the Foundation Flock closes on March 1st, 2021.


6. I just bought some Babydoll sheep from Gumtree. The owners told me they were registered but they did not give me any paperwork. How do I register them?

Unfortunately, you will not be able to register them with the Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association other than in the Appendix. (See information regarding Appendix) To fully register your Babydolls, they MUST BE PUREBRED and you MUST GET THE NECESSARY PAPERWORK from the vendors for proof of bloodlines.


7. If a Babydoll is a Southdown, why does the progeny of a Babydoll and a Modern Southdown need to go through the Appendix?

The Modern Southdown breeders have taken many years of evolving the breed to get it to where it is today, and it takes more than one generation to take it back to the Babydoll type. Yes, you may get the occasional fluke where the breeding produces a true to type Babydoll, but there is no guarantee this will continue with the subsequent breeding. Going through the Appendix gives you four generations in which to produce a true to type Babydoll and the resulting progeny will be more reliable in both phenotype and genotype. This is illustrated in the photo below of a Babydoll X Modern Southdown, compared to a pure Babydoll.


8. Can I register coloured Babydolls with ASSBA?

No, ASSBA does not register coloured sheep of any breed.

GRADING UP AND THE ASSBA BABYDOLL APPENDIX


• Babydolls and Southdowns are considered separate breeds by the Registry, so crossing the two, requires the progeny to go through the Appendix.


• The ram being used denotes the Registry through which the offspring would need to go. If you are using a Babydoll ram over Southdown ewes (or any other ewes for that matter), the progeny go through the Babydoll Appendix and are eventually inspected to be placed on the Babydoll Register.


• Presumably, being Babydoll breeders, you would be using a Babydoll ram over anything you were grading up, so they would go through the BD Registry.


• Babydolls and Southdowns are NOT interchangeable in the eyes of either Registry.


• The Appendix cannot be used to grade up coloured sheep as the ASSBA does not register coloured wool sheep, only those with naturally occurring coloured faces and points, eg/ Shropshire, Hampshire, Suffolk, Dorset Down.


• Grading up is NOT the same as crossing two breeds to create a new breed. This is a totally different process and requires a different process, more generations and tighter scrutiny by the ASSBA Board.


Below you will find the explanation from Bruce Starritt as to why the Appendix was added to the ASSBA Registry. There still seems to be a little confusion about the Appendix so hopefully these points will solve any issues.  It is copied here with permission.



Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association Limited

FLOCK BOOK APPENDIX


After observing the way Appendix systems worked in cattle breeds a few years ago, I introduced this to the Board and it was subsequently passed. I felt that this would be beneficial to breeders of British Breed Sheep.


An amount of confusion has arisen over this move. Two schools of thought are proving difficult for some people to understand. I hope this article will clarify the situation.


Some people believe Appendix is the creation of a new breed such as the South Suffolk was years ago to our book. That is the cross of the Southdown and the Suffolk. Although this is still available it is not so. The rule was introduced to allow stud masters of today to improve existing breeds just as our breed founders did before us.


“Who is to say that they got exactly the right combination of genes within each breed? Whilst eliminating today’s stud master’s ability to improve the breed by adding genetic material such as twining, muscle, milk etc.”


Breeders can persevere with the breed they have and take a lifetime to achieve slow desired change or introduce a breed where the gene exists such as our founders once did and then breed back to pure maintaining the introduced gene. The reason we breed to 15/16 is to make sure we breed to a type. Purity is purity to type not 100% purity blood. If one thinks Noah put two of every breed on the boat years ago (before many British Breeds were derived) it must have been a very large boat.

By breeding to 15/16 you eliminate hybrid vigour by the crossing of two breeds. In the first cross this equates to about 15% of performance. As you breed back to pure each cross hybrid vigour is reduced by half, e.g. 2nd cross = 7.50%, 3rd cross = 3.75%, 4th cross = 1.8%.


The introduction of genetic material to create a different breed is a totally different ball game.

New breeds are derived by stopping at a particular cross and then breeding like to like to achieve the aim, e.g. Ryeland over Dorset Horn to create Poll Dorset. Poll Dorset over Suffolk to create White Suffolk. These new breeds being totally different to the original.


Source: Bruce Starritt, Muster No. 40, August 1997..

A First Cross Babydoll x Mode​rn Southdown compared to pure Babydoll