United Horned Hair Sheep Association, Inc.

These are the standards that all breeders should do their best to have as breeding
goals. Some standards are required for registration and a complete list of standards
which are required for registration is listed afterwards.

Traits discriminated against, traits which are suggested to be used minimally in
breeding the sheep, are a fault and are not a disqualification and animals exhibiting
faults in one area or another are still able to be registered. An animal displaying a trait
that is listed as a disqualification is NOT able to be registered or recorded. Sheep
which do not exhibit the requirements for registrations are considered to be
disqualified and not eligible for registration.

The General Character and Appearance of the Sheep represented by the United
Horned Hair Sheep Association, Inc., should be one of a noble animal. The sheep
should look like an athlete with a lean, sleek form. The sheep are not purely a meat
breed but are more for multiple markets
(Click Here for more information about
multiple markets) and may not necessarily weigh nor exhibit the deep and heavy
muscling of sheep which are considered purely meat breeds.

Should be well balanced and proportional to the body and held high when the sheep
is alerted. Ewes should have a more feminine face and features than the rams.

The back of the head of mature rams may display a slight to extreme rounded hump
behind the horn base. This is part of the rams’ physical frame which helps cushion the
brain during any sparring.

Young lambs typically have a straight profile.

As ewes age, some may display a slight roman nose (elevated area on the nose
bridge seen when viewed from the side profile) while many will maintain the straight

As the rams age, a slight to moderate roman nose (elevated area on the nose bridge
seen when viewed from the side profile) may be displayed. One may note a bigger
elevation on the nose bridge during times association with breeding cycles or during
an increase in sparring activity among rams.

The muzzle may take on a grayish tint as the sheep ages or be indicative of other
nonstandard colors in the background of the sheep.  White hairs to gray hairs may
appear around the eyes of aged Black Hawaiians.   At this time gray around the
muzzle is acceptable for registration purposes.

Black Hawaiian Sheep are considered a hair or shedding sheep. These sheep
actually have two coats: a hair type coat and usually a more wooly undercoat. The
undercoat may resemble a thicker hair to a more wool type look and texture. This
undercoat grows during cool weather and will naturally shed off when warmer weather

In colder climates, some sheep may exhibit a fuller winter undercoat; however, the
undercoat should completely shed off without shearing when warm weather arrives
with the exceptions of lambs and some yearlings.

The ability of the sheep to grow and shed the undercoat, may lead to only partial
shedding for a time in various climates. A complete shedding generally occurs by May,
June or early July. The exact time for a complete and natural shedding depends on
the climate. Lambs and some yearlings may not shed totally till the next year.

Black Hawaiian sheep with possible close Mouflon breed influence, may have a slight
shedding of coarse guard hairs in the fall, dependent of the climate.

The complete and natural shedding ability is important in maintaining ease of care
and a lack of such shedding may be indicative of parent breeds in the background
that are not desirable or of having wool parent breeds in the recent background.

Black Hawaiian Sheep should have a completely black coat color. To be registered,
the sheep must not have any other color than black in the coat, other than the gray
around the muzzle or eyes as mentioned above.

During the Summer, a bronzing or reddish tint may appear in the coat.  This may be
caused by sun bleaching.  Occasionally, the undercoat during wintertime may give the
sheep a brownish tint to it.  SEE PICTURES TO THE UPPER RIGHT

Ears should be parallel to the ground or at slightly higher angles. A very slight angle
below parallel to the ground is noticeable at times; however, the ears should become
parallel to the ground or higher when on alert.   SEE PHOTOS TO RIGHT

While at birth, lambs may display droopy ears, especially those who are part of a
multiple birth; however, the ear(s) should straighten up within a few days. Otherwise,
ears must not droop enough to be considered floppy. Such ears would tend to
indicate cross-breeding in the background of the sheep.  Naturally occurring (not due
to injury or other difficulties) droopy ears are a disqualification for registration.

Ears generally should come to a slight point at the tip and not be completely rounded
in shape. Elf ears (ears with external cartilage which is generally 1/2 inch to 3 inches
in length and exhibiting a more v-shaped ear) and Gopher ears (ears without visible
extenal cartilage or with less than 1/2 inch) are acceptable. Natural ears may vary in
length but are generally in the range of 3 - 4 inches. Abbreviations used within the
registry are as such: E indicating Elf Ears, G indicating Gopher Ears, and N indicating

Eyes should be bright and alert and must be free from genetic eyelid defects such as

The color of the eyes vary from dark brown, golden brown to amber.

Incisor teeth should meet the dental pad. A severe and distinct space between the
incisor teeth and the dental pad is a disqualification.

Sheep should not have an extreme overbite (parrot mouth) or underbite (monkey jaw).

CLICK HERE to learn how to estimate the age of your sheep by looking at the teeth!

Neck should continue from the head and gradually lead into the shoulders and be
gracefully held when sheep are alert.

A ewe’s neck will be graceful and proportional in size based on the ewe‘s overall frame.

A ram’s neck will be thicker and more muscular than a ewe‘s neck in appearance and
to the touch. During the Fall or cooler weather, rams may display an increase in hair
and undercoat growth around the neck area which will make the neck look much

Mature rams will display a mane in the winter. Some will shed the mane completely in
the summer while other rams will retain the mane.  Some ewes may also have a short

A ram’s mane may be varied in length from short to long, some even almost touching
the ground when in full winter coat. Some manes may be much shorter and hang just
a couple of inches below the bottom line of the chest. A ram with no mane at any time
is a severe fault and is discriminated against.

The shoulders should be developed and muscled proportionally to the size of the
sheep. They should flow into the ribs (well laid into the ribs).

The withers (area between the shoulder blades along the top line) may be elevated
with rams exhibiting a more pronounced and higher elevated wither. Some sheep may
have a completely straight topline and no elevation at the withers.

The chest width of most Black Hawaiian Sheep will be narrow to moderate with a more
athletic look - proportional to the size of the sheep.

The width of the front of the sheep should not be greater than the width of the back of
the sheep to facilitate lambing.

Continuing after a smooth transition from straight or elevated withers, the back should
be strong, level and relatively smooth. The Back may tend in width to look lean, sleek,
and athletic.

The back is proportioned to the height of the sheep and is generally not longer than
the height.

Ribs should be well sprung. Abdomen should allow for multiple births and be
proportional for smaller sized ewes; however, Mouflon sheep and high content
Mouflon ewes are primarily shaped and geared toward single births.

The bottom line should not be tucked in at the fore flank nor the rear flank.

The Legs should be sound and proportioned to size of individual sheep. Sheep will
have long athletic legs, usually longer than body height from bottom line to top line.
Rams will generally have thicker legs then ewes.

Legs should have a conformationally correct appearance. Front legs should not be
knock kneed, bowlegged, buck-kneed or calf kneed. Rear Legs should not be cow
hocked, sickle hocked or post legged. Lower Legs on both front and rear legs should
not toe in (angle inward/pigeon toed) or toe out (angle outward/splayfooted) too
much. Pasterns should be strong and correct.


A nice four square stance is desired with legs standing nicely inline with the body of
the sheep.

Continuing from the back, the rump should exhibit a gradually angled slope to the

Size and muscling of rump are proportional to the size of the overall sheep.

The Thigh should be well developed in proportion to the size of the sheep. Black
Hawaiian Sheep may not display the depth and heavy muscling of some sheep breeds
developed purely for fast gain and high weights (meat) at an early age.

The twist is the junction where the insides of the thighs meet. To compare sheep as
far as meat capability, the measurement of the depth of the twist may be taken. To
measure the depth of the twist, one can place hands at the top of the tail and at the
crotch. This measurement assists especially in judging of pure meat sheep breeds
and shows the depth of muscling in this area.

The Black Hawaiian Sheep tend toward the depth of the twist being minimal to
moderately deep. The Twist should be muscled proportional to the size and frame of
the individual sheep.

A ewe’s udder should be well proportioned and relatively symmetrical and have only
two teats. A ewe with more than two teats is discriminated against. The teats should
be free of obvious defects affecting function.

Both Testicles should be uniform and symmetrical, free of obvious deformities.
Testicles should be well sized and the scrotum itself should also be free of obvious


Tail lengths vary.  Shorter tails are preferred.  Tails should not be “round” and should
be more “flat“.         

A tail that is reaching to the hocks is discriminated against.  A tail past the hocks is a
disqualification from registration in the United Horned Hair Sheep Association, Inc.


Hooves should be well formed and kept free of deformities and disease.

Black Hawaiian hooves must be dark to black with some allowance for a washing of
color as the sheep ages.


All rams must grow and display horns, however, both polled (hornless) and horned
ewes are acceptable as are ewes with scurs. Some breeders prefer not to have scurs
on their sheep due to scurs being easily knocked off and bleeding that could occur.

Rams with scurs are not eligible for registration. To be registered, ram lambs out of
unregistered parents will need to exhibit horns in submitted registration photographs.

In general, wide horns (horns with plenty of room from the face) are preferred over
horns that may grow close to the face and eventually touch the face. Some flock
owners and breeders prefer horns which are a little closer to face (more heart
shaped) or have tight curls while other flock owners prefer horns which have much
wider areas between the face and the horns or less tight curls (horns almost sticking
straight out).

Filing or training of the horns to prevent horns from touching the face is acceptable
and will not prevent the ram from being registered. However, such activities should
always be disclosed in a honest manner to potential customers.

Horns can be of varying shapes. Some may be wider than others at the “tips“.


Supracervical Horns (abbreviated SH)
(Heart Shaped)

Homonymous Horns (abbreviated HH)
(spiraling out)

Polycerate/Multiple Horns (abbreviated MH)
(multiple horns - 3, 4, +)

Actual shape of individual horns
Webbed Horns
Abbreviated SW for Supracervical shape, webbed horns
Abbreviated HW for Homonymous shape, webbed horns
Abbreviated WH for horns which do not show over all shape of horn growth yet but do
show they are webbed

Round/Usual Horns
Horns are more round in circumference.  This is the most common actual horn shape.

Ewes’ horns really do not take on shapes as the rams’ horns. They sometimes can be
curved outward or backward. To indicate Horned Ewes in the registry, HE is the
abbreviation used.  SEE PICTURE TO THE LEFT

A mature ram’s horn lengths vary based on actual age, individual ram (genetics),
areas of the country (environment and weather), nutrition and health. Growth rate
(rate at which the horns grow) is also dependent upon some of the above factors.
Horns generally slow down during late winter/early spring unless fed to overcome the
slowdown; however, the average overall growth rate for horns for young rams is
1in/month for the first two years. Some rams may seem to get a good start with quick
growing horns while others horns grow slower but then catch up as the ram matures.

Mature rams usually display 20 - 29 inch length horns to measurements in the 30 - 39
range. Horns generally turn outward. Bases on mature rams generally run 8 to 9
inches in circumference. Ten inches in circumference of the base of mature rams’
horns also can be found. Eleven inches in basal circumference (base measurements)
for each horn is exceptional.

Some breeders will prefer larger base measurements as the horns grow out from the
bases and with larger base measurements, the belief is, the better future opportunity
for growth exists.


While shapes and lengths of the sheep breeds represented by UHHSA, Inc., are
similar, certain breeds prefer certain colors of horns. For the Black Hawaiian Sheep,
horns should be dark brown to black.  Variegated horns (usually white horns with
black stripes) are a disqualification; however, with age, the horns may appear washed
out and white coloring may appear but the distinguishable stripes of variegation in the
horns should not be visible at any time. SEE HORN COLOR PICTURES TO THE

The average height of the Black Hawaiian Sheep for the ewes is 20 - 27 inches at the
withers and 21 - 31 inches at the withers for rams.  Individual sheep may be outside of
the range and there is no fault or disqualification for above or below average heights.

Black Hawaiian Sheep generally run larger in size than the Painted Desert Sheep, and
Mouflon Sheep which are also represented by the United Horned Hair Sheep
Association, Inc.  

The weight of the sheep varies and individual sheep may weigh outside the range.  

Ewes may weigh 60 - 150 lbs with an average of 70 - 100 lbs.  Rams generally weigh
from 75 - 200 pounds with an average of 100 lbs.

Black Hawaiian Sheep are a naturally shedding, all black hair sheep with Mouflon
Sheep influence in ancestry. All rams must have horns, and the ewes are allowed to
have horns although most ewes are polled. Rams must not exhibit scurs instead of
horns, while ewes with scurs are acceptable.

The Sheep should not contain, to the best knowledge of the owner, any polled blood
or other types of polled bloodlines, including but not limited to Dorper, Katahdin, and
St. Croix sheep breeds. Horned Ancestry bloodlines accepted are Mouflon, American
Blackbelly, Corsican, Horned Rambouliet, Merino, or Navajo Churro.  Because of the
chance for spotting, the parent wool breeds which may produce spotting in the
progeny should probably not be used.

While the original crosses occurred several decades ago, some breeders may wish to
create new bloodlines using one or more of the parent wool breeds. To be registered,
Black Hawaiian sheep must consist of 1/8th or less of parent wool breeds and meet all
other breed standards.

Black Hawaiian Sheep which are directly bred from wool lines and include only Horned
Rambouilet, Merino, or Navajo Churro wool sheep breeds, must completely shed and
additional pictures showing the completely shed sheep may be required for
registration if the pictures submitted does not clearly show the sheep shedding or
having shed.

Information about any known background of the ancestral breeds should be included
in pedigrees with their percentages of the breeds noted to assist breeders in choosing
bloodlines. If a sheep is unregistered, the animal should be clearly labeled as
unregistered. This information should include any known wool breeds in the bloodlines.

What to do when sheep which are registered as Black Hawaiian when mated with
another registered Black Hawaiian Sheep, produces non standard coloring.  Are these
non standard color producers then still considered Black Hawaiian Sheep or are the
offspring simply expressing a color phase?  For UHHSA and the Black Hawaiian
Registry Division  purposes at this time, a Black Hawaiian Sheep will be defined as an
all black sheep which, when bred to all black sheep normally produces all black sheep
and which has no known spotting genetics in the known pedigrees of the sheep.

While some market opportunities do not require such distinction, for registration and
breeding purposes of a Black Hawaiian Sheep, production of spotting and color
variances in addition to the allowable colors listed above should matter and is highly
discriminated against.  Animals displaying nonstandard coloring will not be eligible for
registration as a Black Hawaiian Sheep.  UHHSA and the Black Hawaiian Registry
expects it’s members to fully disclose any known spotting or non standard coloring
that exists in their Black Hawaiian Flocks and work on minimizing spotting and the
chance for spotting or non standard coloring to the best of their abilities.

While each shepherd needs to make decisions on their flock management, it is
strongly suggested that if a registered ram or registered ewe is shown to produce non
standard coloring with different mates, that the sheep be removed from the Black
Hawaiian breeding program

If Any Sheep are produced which do not meet the color standards for the Black
Hawaiian Registry, PLEASE consider registering them with the Painted Desert
Registry division of UHHSA if they match the Painted Desert Breed Standard or
another division within UHHSA if they match the division’s Breed Standards.

  • Rams must have horns
  • All black coat. United Horned Hair Sheep Association, Inc., reserves the right to
    request additional photos showing horns, coat or other attributes of the sheep
    for which registration or recording is requested.
  • Gray or white muzzle or graying around the eyes is acceptable at this time as
    this may be due to aging
  • Known background of only Mouflon, American Blackbelly and wool parent
    breeds of Horned Rambouilet, Merino, and Navajo Churro
  • 1/8th or less of wool parent breeds
  • Sheep at maturity normally exhibiting shedding ability

  • Rams’ horns which touch the face at maturity
  • For multi horned animals - fused horns
  • Extra Teats on ewes
  • Slight under or over bite, with teeth just barely touching the edge of the dental
  • Sheep which do not shed out completely at maturity on a general basis
  • Mature rams with no mane at any time
  • Tails reaching to the hocks

  • Sheep with known polled bloodlines
  • Rams which are polled or have scurs at maturity
  • Tails past the hocks
  • Docked tails
  • Sheep with more than 1/8th known wool breeding from the parent breeds -
    Horned Rambouliet, Merino, Navajo Churro
  • Sheep with any known wool breeding from any non-parent wool breed
  • Hermaphroditism
  • One or both testicles not descended
  • Severe under or over bite, with distinct space between teeth and edge of dental
  • Evidence of cross breeding shown by physical appearance of breeds which are
    not included in the history or background of Black Hawaiian Sheep such as
    Suffolk, Hampshire, Dorper, Katahdin, St Croix, etc.
  • Entropion (inverted eye lids) or other genetic eyelid defects
  • Naturally occurring droopy or floppy ears on adults
  • Known spotted genetics or other recent non standard color ancestors other
    than what is listed as acceptable
  • Distinct variegated coloring in the horns or the hooves. Not to be confused with
    a washing out of color due to aging.

Sheep with Disqualifying traits are not eligible for registration and will be denied
registration. Excessive Discriminating traits of an individual sheep may render that
sheep ineligible for registration if, at the inspectors and board of directors discretion,
such traits seriously challenge the breed identity.
Active Members of UHHSA are permitted to use information on their website to help in
ethical and honest promotion and education about the breeds represented.  However,
a link to this website should be provided.

Pictures are copyrighted by owners of the sheep pictured and permission will need to
be sought to use the pictures.
Measuring depth of the
twist:  Hand Placement
is indicated by the
horizontal red lines.  The
depth is the vertcal blue
A horned ewe also showing
the gray to white coloring on
the muzzle which can
appear with age
Homonymous Webbed Horns (HW)
displayed by a Painted Desert
Mature Black Hawaiian Ram in Winter Coat
Homonymous Shape
Horn color washed/faded out
Ears will generally be at parallel to the ground or above for these sheep.
Sheep which naturally have ears below parallel to the ground are
disqualified from registration
Black Horns
Ewe exhibiting bronzing from the sun.  Not to be
mistaken from a possible rare Copper Deficiency
which can also make black hair appear bronzed.  
In the Definicieny situation, the coat itself may not
appear healthy
Brown tint to the under coat seen in the winder sun.  When
Undercoat is shed, the ewe is totally black
This ewe is also starting to show gray around the muzzle as
she ages
Mature Ram displaying a slight Roman Nose
Back Legs - Side View
Variegated hooves are a
Disqualification from
Front Legs - Front View
Front Legs - Side View
Solid Black Hooves are
Click on picture above to
learn how to measure and
score YOUR ram!
Supracervical (SH)
Heart Shaped Horns
Gopher Ear
Toes Angled
Pigeon Toed
Elf Ear Length
Toes Angled
Natural Ear length
Weak Pasterns
Normal Bite
Back Legs - Rear View
General Anatomy
Both Testicles
Normal and even
One testicle smaller
than the other
Both testicles small
sized but still
functioning properly
One testicle did not
Unilateral Cryptorchidism
Both testicles did not
Bilateral Cryptorchidism
Tail Lengths
Tails with these lengths are correct
Tails to the hocks are acceptable but
considered a fault.

Tails past the hocks (red horizontal
line) are not acceptable and is a
Disqualification from Registration
Polycerate Horns
Multiple Horns (MH)
More than 2 horns
(L) Ram with 4 separate horns
(R) Ram with fused horns
Homonymous Horns
Horns spiraling out like a corkscrew especially when viewed from side
Variegated Horns
Yearling Painted Desert Ram
Variegated Horns are a Disqualification for
Registration as
Black Hawaiian Sheep
White Horns

displaying Homonymous Shaped horns
as well as graying around the muzzle and eyes
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