Posts Tagged sheep
It all started with China’s economic boom. The Dolan sheep, recognized for its distinctive curved face, twin tails, and long floppy ears, which was originally bred for its meat from sheep in Kashgar has since become one of the most sought-after collectible for the country’s wealthiest. Certain desired features of each sheep set the price. For instance, darker fleece, bigger ears, more pronounced curving of the face make a sheep costlier than others.
The most expensive Dolan sheep is owned by Majid Abdul Reyim, a breeder in Kashgar, who claims to have received an offer of $2.2M. He turned it down in favor of bragging rights and of maintaining a lucrative breeding service.
Other breeders often have to partner up to buy a specimen and split the breeding charge. Why, a dose of semen from the best-looking Dolan sheep can cost up to $47,000. Mr. Liu, a sheep breeder from Aksu sold 320 of his non-Dolan sheep and started breeding Dolans in 2009 from a pair that cost $4,000. The following year, the pair cost $40,000 and with only 1,000 of them in existence the price is still going higher.
For ages, the Merino sheep has been prized for its fleece which is the finest and softest over any other wool, so much so that before 18th century Spain only the nobility and the church owned most of the flocks and that export of these was punishable by death. After the Napoleonic Wars, the breed has spread to Germany, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Merino wool is noted for its excellence at regulating body temperatures and though it absorbs water, it retains its warmth when wet making it ideal for athletic clothing. Unlike synthetic fabrics, the Merino is superior in that its fibers biodegrade rapidly according to New Zealand researchers. When completely buried in soil for intervals of 1, 2, 3, 6, and 9 months, merino samples lost 36% of their mass at two months and 76-99% at nine months. Compared to its synthetic counterpart, which did not degrade when buried after nine months, merino has a superior advantage of being sustainable and eco-friendly.