The Dolomite Perendale Stud

Currently there is good demand for Dolomite Perendale rams. The reasons are sound.

Dolomite Perendales are tough sheep with an ability to handle both droughts and cold winters and come through producing the lambs which we all want. This is because the stud is performance tested on challenging hill-country, a factor not common to many other ram breeding operations.

The stud ewes and those of our clients are demonstrating the genetic lifts in fertility and improved lamb production as a consequence of our commitment to SIL production recording and muscle scanning. At the same time the body weights of adult ewes are not too high with the result that we are producing highly efficient ewes.

As a member of the Perendale Sheep Breed Society we are fortunate to be involved with a team of  very committed breeders determined to adopt new technologies in order to continually make ongoing genetic gains for the breed. Collectively we are involved with a wider pool of 30,000 recorded ewes. 

Adhering to these principles has played a large role in the management, growth and success of the Dolomite Perendale Stud.


The Dolomite Perendale Stud was established by Ken & Jeanette Elliott in 1984 on a Banks Peninsula property specifically selected for Perendale sheep breeding.

The property is genuine hill-country running to the summit (about 500metres a.s.l.) overlooking Akaroa Harbour. Essentially South-East facing, it is late country prone to cold southerlies and prevailing easterly winds. Lamb survival and wintering is testing and important to our breeding philosophy to breed tough sheep which perform to expectations.

Being Canterbury based, the property gets its fair share of droughts. Summer and Autumn presents challenges; hogget growth rates become key selection criteria; breeding ewes must have the ability to come through droughts then bounce back to ideal mating weights and condition scores necessary to achieve high lambing performance.

As clients testify, rams from the       DolomiteStud will pass on the sheep   performance genetics capable of     confronting the challenges faced by
  hill-country farming environments.

Flock establishment

The Dolomite Stud was formed by purchasing 125 top index ewes from breeders chosen as stringent performance recorders. By starting with the best, the genetic gains made by others over the previous 20 years were acquired.

In addition, a central elite flock for the group breeding scheme South Island Central Perendales, was run in conjunction with the Dolomite stud. For many years this group comprised seven of the leading South Island studs contributing annually five of their highest performing ewes into the central flock. To be eligible these ewes had to have a 200% lambing record and be in the top 15% with respect to hogget fleece weight. The genetics from these outstanding ewes has played a large role in the development of Dolomite Perendales.

SIL-linked flocks

Recently South Island Central Perendales has undergone structural changes and a name change to Link Perendales, in order to emphasize the importance of genetic linkages within SIL (Sheep Improvement Limited) recorded flocks. The Dolomite Perendale Stud remains a member and values the very special contribution that this group is making towards worm resistant Perendales.

In addition, the Dolomite Stud is a member of another SIL-linked group of Canterbury Perendale breeders. The Canterbury breeders are leaders in muscle scanning improvement which appears to be strongly associated with producing more vigorous animals.

These groups have a combined total of more than 7,000 recorded ewes. The objective is to engender a spirit of cooperation with each others breeding programs, and in particular allow the necessary across-flock analysis to ensure brought in rams will maximize genetic improvement.

The Dolomite Stud places a high importance in working with others to ensure our ram buying clients have access to the best possible Perendale genetics.

Current flock

The Dolomite Stud has always been a smaller-scaled specialized sheep breeding operation. It currently records 400 Perendale breeding ewes allowing considerable attention to detail. Group breeding membership has ensured that the flock does not miss out on any of the genetic advantages from larger scale.

The Dolomite Stud devotes considerable   attention to detail                       
ensuring stock are of the highest quality.

The future

Farming practices are forever changing and presenting us with new challenges. The present day challenge for hill-country sheep farmers is to adopt sheep management practices to ensure a large proportion of lambs are sold as prime lambs. 

The 2007/8 season saw a dramatic price discount for store lambs as a consequence of changes in farming on the traditional 'finishing' country. This has been followed with the 2008/9 season prices handsomly rewarding prime lamb production.

It will become increasingly more important to meet forward contracted sale arrangements with lamb marketing companies.

Within the Dolomite Stud emphasis will continue to be placed on producing more profitable sheep. The primary focus is on the ideal level of fertility for hill country farming, sheep thriftiness, and in advancing meat production and lamb value in the market place.

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