South Dorset Downs were developed in New Zealand during the 1950s. As the name suggests, they are the result of a cross between a Dorset Down and a Southdown. Their physical appearance is similar to that of the Dorset Down and South Suffolk.
Their fine, short fleece is brown in colour. They have large-sized frames and are known for their rapid maturity, making the breed an ideal candidate as export lamb. They are also popular in some cross-breeding programs for meat lambs.
The breed was first recognised in Australia in 1975, however since then they have disappeared from flock books due to the decline in breeding numbers. In New Zealand, the breed exists in more substantial numbers.