The General Character and Appearance of the Harlequin Sheep

Harlequin sheep are known for easy handling and docile dispositions. They are nurturing mothers and often have multiple lambs. Their small size and easy keeping metabolism require less acreage per animal compared to other breeds.

HEAD 
The characteristics of the head give each breed its individuality & uniqueness. The Miniature Harlequin is polled. 
The head is medium length and moderately broad, but not so broad to be a birthing obstruction, and with medium length.

MUZZLE & FACE
The muzzle and face should be moderate in width to ensure efficient grazing and moderate in length, straight to slightly dished but not Roman.

WOOL
Wool is of medium character.  Micron count ranges from 25- 35 microns and yearly staple length from 3”- 6”.  The fiber is highly crimped.  Some fleeces are open with luster and individual locks while others have a closed fleece that is shorter with less luster and a disorganized crimp structure.  The wool should be dense and consistent from the shoulder to the hip and as far back on the leg as possible.  Fleeces are 4-8 lbs per year.  Fleeces should not part along the back and kemp should not be present.  Quilting may be present and is not considered a fault.  Harlequins are single coated.  Wool is distinctly spotted.  

EARS
Ears are of medium thickness, moderate in length, level to the poll, proportionate to the head and preferably covered with wool. 
Short rough hair is acceptable, slick ears are discriminated against. Black or brown-specked ear skin is common.

EYES​​​​​​​
Eyes should large, bright, brown to yellow or even blue.

INCISOR TEETH
Incisor teeth should meet the dental pad.

NECK
Neck, wide at the base and laid well into the shoulders, with skin free of wrinkles. 

CHEST
Wide and deep.

SIZE
Measurements are at the shoulder and perpendicular to the ground on shorn sheep.
Harlequin Sheep should be under 24" tall at shoulder

COLORS
Harlequins are known for varying patterns of black and white spots as lambs maturing to cocoa brown, shades of white, gray and black.

Forequarters: Shoulders, Back and Loin

SHOULDERS
Shoulders should be well muscled, well laid into the ribs and level with the back. The width at the shoulders should be less than the width at the hips to facilitate easy lambing.

LOIN
The LOIN should be long, wide and thick.

RIBS
The ribs should be deep and wide, thick through the heart girth & well sprung

Hindquarters: Feet and Legs

Short to Medium length, straight legs should stand squarely at each corner. Rear legs should stand wide but squarely under the sheep with some angulations of the hocks and slight angulations of the pasterns.

RUMP
The rump should be wide and long

TAIL
Large and set almost level with chin.

THIGHS
Thighs should show medium muscling.

HOOVES
Hooves come in a variety of colors.

Characteristics NOT Accepted in the Harlequin Breed

  • Solid scurs or horns
  • One or both of the testicles not descended
  • Incisor teeth not meeting dental pad
  • Inverted eyelids
  • ​​​​​​​Scrotal rupture