by Dawie Du Toit
Imhof Verlag, Petersberg, Germany (2014)
D. P. Sponenberg DVM PhD
is a useful and beautiful book, and is useful to sheep breeders,
geneticists, conservationists, and also to fiber artists. The
book was expertly edited by Dawie du Toit, and his impeccable
work shines through the organization of the book as well as the
final product which is a delight to read.
The book is hard bound and is printed
on high quality paper that allows the many (558) colour
photographs to come through with all of the clarity and detail
that are needed to illustrate the many chapters. The colour
photographs are supplemented by many others in black and white.
The book is wide ranging in the
topics covered, but manages to cover each of these in a depth
that is useful to the reader interested in highly specialized
details. A few chapters are devoted to general issues of sheep
breed management with respect to coloured sheep. These serve as
a very useful background to more specific chapters that follow.
Several chapters are devoted to the
history, wool, and biology of several different breeds of sheep
from all over the globe. While the coverage is not exhaustive,
the regions of the globe are covered extensively enough that the
range of issues behind these breeds, and those facing these
breeds now and into the future, are all well covered.
Managing sheep in their environment
is also dealt with in several chapters. These are important
glimpses into the role of sheep in shaping familiar environments
globally, and highlight the need to keep sheep involved in these
situations in order to not lose these unique environments that
contribute so greatly to global diversity. Putting the sheep in
their ecological and cultural context is a very useful addition
to this book.
The output of these sheep—coloured
wool—is covered in several chapters that explore the many
different ways these wools are used worldwide. Processing,
marketing, and the relationship of the various products with
different cultures and regions are all covered. Each makes a
fascinating insight into the unique contributions of these sheep
to the human cultures that tend them. These chapters also
highlight the range of possibilities that exist with these sheep
and the wools they produce.
The final chapters are devoted to
details of genetic control of colour in sheep. These are placed
in a useful context by a short examination of the uniqueness of
sheep colour when compared to other species, and also when
comparing wool sheep to hair sheep.
Finally, the very detailed work of
Roger Lundie on Agouti
locus details is covered in several chapters. These range from
an historical look back at previous research over decades. This
is then updated with valuable data from Lundie’s own extensive
experimental flocks as well as his observations on many other
types and breeds of sheep internationally. His work takes the
foundation laid by Stefan Adalsteinsson and others and greatly
expands it. This is a most fitting tribute to Stefan, to whose
memory the entire book is dedicated. Lundie very capably builds
on the good work of the pioneering sheep geneticists, and each
of them would be proud and satisfied with this extensive
This book is a visual and factual
treasure, to be read and re-read, and enjoyed each time.
Review: Bruce M Tinnock
Congress on Coloured Sheep held in Paris, France, in May, 2014,
marked the fourth decade since these five yearly gatherings
originated in Adelaide, Australia, in 1979.
Previous Congresses during that time were held in New Zealand,
USA, UK, Australia and Brazil, each attracting participants from
many countries of the world. These
included commercial farmers and lifestyle owners of coloured
sheep, others involved in sheep and wool research, education,
conservation, wool handcrafts, wool processing and marketing.
2014 event, held at the Paris Mercure Hotel Porte d’Orleans, was the first of its kind to be hosted on the European
Co-ordinated by Dawie
a breeder of coloured sheep from Prieska, South Africa, in
association with travel and conference organiser Amélie Quenet of Paris, it attracted
near 85 registered participants
from countries including UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand,
continental Europe and Scandinavia. Pierre Delporto of
Paris, also played a pivotal role in organizing both the
Congress and the Post Congress Tour.
English as the official Congress language, thirty three papers
were presented during the first two days of Congress sessions.
Topics included genetics of coloured sheep, sheep production and
management, fleece biology, wool handcrafts, wool processing and
Several presentations were supplemented by colour projections,
particularly appropriate when discussing coat colour patterns,
but also providing excellent visual impressions of the various
environments in which sheep are raised.
third day of Congress featured an excursion by all delegates to
the historic BergerieNationale
national sheep farm at Rambouillet, to hear presentations
on the history of Rambouillet
merinos and of management of the present day flocks viewed.
These are direct descendants of the original 380 Spanish merino
sheep bought by Louis XVI of France from the King of Spain in
1786 and which were established on the Rambouillet
Estate, an experimental Government farm.
The excursion later continued to Versaillies, where time was
available for walks to visit the historic Chateau of Versaillies
and the vast expanse of parkland and gardens in which it is
The Congress book
published at the time [Timeless Coloured Sheep:
edited by Dawie du Toit, Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg, Germany]
includes all Congress papers presented, with additional special
articles on various European sheep breeds.
Hard bound and printed on high quality paper, it features 558
colour photos of sheep breeds and coat colour patterns and some
wool end products of handcraft and industry.
illustrations comprise monochrome photos and diagrams.
Edited by Dawie
its layout and the emphasis on various details by utilising a
variety of typefaces in both captions and text is impressive.
Digital technology has ensured an even consistency of quality in
colour reproduction throughout.
The three contributions by coloured sheep breeder and geneticist
of New Zealand on The Agouti
Locus of the Sheep are regarded as the most authoritative
and comprehensive reference on sheep coat colour genetics yet
This book is an attractive and prominent work which will be
appreciated world-wide by all people with an interest or
involvement in coloured sheep and their wool.
Copies of the
Congress Book can be
Nathalie Ketterle at:
Louis XV1 Sheep Arch, at the Bergerie,
Aerial Photo of the Bergerie
Dawie du Toit
P O Box 141
Mobile: +27 (0) 83 444 38 22
© 2014 Dawie du Toit | All Rights Reserved ©