A home-bred shearling tup born and bred in Northumberland was named overall Breed Champion at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show.
Wallridge Moor Whistler, bred by Caroline Anderson, was first-placed Shearling tup, Male Champion and overall Breed Champion. Anderson has been breeding Zwartbles for six years. Based near Ingoe, she has a small flock of 12 breeding ewes.
Her recent success follows a great start to the showing season when the same tup was first-prized shearling ram at the Northumberland County Show. This follows on from a successful 2012 when a home-bred shearling ewe Wallridge Moor Tameka was named Supreme Champion at the society’s premier sale at Carlisle in August, going on to be top priced female on the day.
Anderson said: “Even though I only run a few ewes, I am no less serious than any other breeder. They are run on a commercial basis and have to pay their way. I take exception to being labelled a hobby breeder; I come from a farming family and fit my sheep in around work and family.”
The Zwartbles Sheep Association recently welcomed their 1,000th member reflecting the growing popularity of the breed. They are a striking sheep, very maternal, prolific, have plenty of milk and are good mothers.
Although Anderson’s main market is the pedigree sales at Carlisle, Stirling and Worcester, they are gaining popularity for cross breeding with other breeds producing good butchers’ lambs. They also make excellent embryo transfer recipients due to their easy lambing and milking ability.
“I have worked hard on my sheep and their bloodlines; Whistler was bred from a home bred ewe using A.I. to a Dutch import tup called Walter. It’s not easy showing any breed of sheep, it’s a year round job and winning Breed Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show makes all the hard work worthwhile,” said Anderson.
Her next show will be the Border Union Show at Kelso followed by a very busy time preparing sheep for the society’s sale on August 9 at Carlisle.