Bavarian Forest

Also Known As: Waldschaf

The Bavarian Forest, the successor of the Bavarian Zaupel, is decreasing in popularity and appears in the Bavarian herdbook only since 1987. Nevertheless it is an old and once wide-spread breed in its native region. In order to characterize this more exactly, one must look back into the history of the breed.

Breed history

Studies one the relevant technical literature 19. Century, then one meets mischwolliges land sheep " again and again the term ". This mixing wool basic group of sheep races is absolutely confronted to the Schlichtwolligen German land sheep or German sheep. In the group of the Mischwolligen sheep distinctive in the Zaupel, the Hannover' land sheep and the Pommer' land sheep. The Zaupelschaf dominated in the southern part of Germany, in addition, in adjacent regions in Maehren and Boehmen as well as in the entire alpine region. To a further occurrence in south Hungary already with MAY 1868 one refers. The Zaupelschaf is called in the literature the gewoehnlichste of all races and defamed due to its rough, filzigen mixing wool. MAY does not describe the Zaupelschaf 1868 as " largely... In the Durschnitt... - 70 Pound... The not rarely occurring horns briefly and to the rear outside and down curved, those ears are moderately long and course-sharpened. With rough, strongly shining wool. Under the long rougher hair also Flaumhaare occur, which felt themselves. Thus it is annually 2 times sheared. The larger number of the animals carries white, smaller brown or black wool. These animals possess a very strong constitution, can still progress on wet soil and with the worst pasture course (normally joint with pigs). During bad winter feeding they look up almost also still their winter fodder under the snow; they lammen normally for the first time only 1 year old, throw frequently twins, lammen not rarely in the year 2mal. " After BOHM 1868 is this description to still add " the heading is rather small, the forehead flat and narrow, it turns into without noticeable recessing into the nasal bone. This appears with the male animals. rather curved, with the female against it quite flat. The lip is narrow and pointed. The ears sharply trichterfoermig together-rolled, narrowly and pointedly, have however no upright direction, separate are away in horizontal position of the heading. Gehoernt are usually only the Widder. With the white-colored animals one often finds a black lip and more or less regular black rings around the eyes. " Also BOHM (1868) describes the bad attitude conditions of the Zaupel, which were usually held within the rural area only in small groups and together with pigs and cattle to the pasture went. Main yield target was handspinable wool for the internal requirement. In the time of the arising comb yarn spinning mill mixing wool was however more and more rejected. On the other hand becomes the high fertility with 2-maliger Lammung per year as well as the enormous ruggedness of the being sufficient seeds of animals in the literature 19. Century always again emphasized. First mention finds the Zaupelschaf in the year 1536 in a decree of duke Ulrich of Wuerttemberg. It forbids the attitude of Zaupeln with punishment and endorses the introduction of flaemischer sheep. From this then the schlichtwollige German sheep already mentioned, which found far spreading, developed in particular in Central Germany. Numerous Untertypen and color versions occurred in. Today to urspruenglichsten received races of this direction are the Rhoenschaf as well as the Coburger already the fox sheep and the old line sheep, in 19. Century as special impacts of the schlichtwolligen German land sheep to be mentioned. The Zaupelschaf was displaced already at that time by the schlichtwolligen German sheep more and more. After MAY still 207,993 Zaupel were available, correspond to a proportion of 10,1 % of total stocks in the year 1863 in Bavaria. to 1912 then still 4.57 existed to %. GULF mentions 1939 the Zaupelschaf as in Bavaria only in the moorland and mountain areas of upper and Lower Bavaria occurring. Last mention finds it in the literature in the year 1941 with BORODAJKEWYEZ. It describes residues in the Muehlviertel and in the adjacent Boehmen. Also today still one can find in Lower Bavaria at the older generations farmers, who know the term Zaupelschaf. Already in the year 1890 in a memorandum of the agricultural association the situation in Lower Bavaria is as follows described: " the rural breeders deal with themselves more with the breed of the normal Zaupel, the Waldler or stone sheep. ". It thus with clearly decreasing/going back stocks of the Zaupel already regionally distinctive into the group of the Bavarian forest, the Waldlerschaf, and into one more alpine form, the stone sheep. This term becomes generally accepted then in the alpine region more and more. In addition, the word stone sheep is particularly used again and again in Lower Bavaria, in the adjacent Muehlviertel and even in Lower Austria. In the later literature the Zaupelschaf receives no more mention, it is considered than become extinct or is directly forgotten.

In and the 50's 40's professor B. Cumlivski in Boehmen began with a systematic zuechterischen handling of Zaupelschaf residues of the Boehmerwaldes. Without a crossings, however with intensive selection on increasing Wollqualitaet and Wollertrag an extensive stock was structured by 25,000 nut/mother sheep, which was raised under the name Sumavaschaf (Boehmerwaldschaf) to the state race. In the early 60's professor Imre Bodó in Hungary began to likewise buy up residues of the so-called Ziktaschafes in south Hungary. Here it concerned Zaupel, which came in the year 1723 with Swabian evacuees from the county Limpurg into the Hungarian Donaukomitat. In the cultural enclave the sheep kept the last residues into the today's time and now to a national herd of gene reserve were structured. Unfortunately within the area of the Bavarian forest only preservation measures were initiated very late by Zaupelschaf residues. In English: A nationally subsidized breed attempt with forest sheep in the year 1976 was not resumed unfortunately. Only end of the 80's was then composed of the last residues in the Bavarian forest a new population.

Above in detail represented breed history puts the assumption close that it concerns at the races forest sheep, Boehmerwaldschaf, Zitkaschaf and stone sheep remainder populations of the Zaupelschafs. This acceptance becomes by the outward similarity with the descriptions of the Zaupelschafs in 19. Century supports. Here it must be considered however that the Zaupelschaf was never zuechterisch processed and it already into earlier times to more or less unmethodical a crossings came. The schlichtwollige German land sheep displaced the Zaupelschaf already in 19. Century and was also in-crossed surely the more frequent, just like later then landsheepsheep land sheep in Bavaria, Kammwollmerinos in Hungary and in Czechoslovakia as well as the Bergamaskerschaf in the entire alpine region. Today it applies now to develop the last residues further too received and the population. Here as originally as possible, the Zaupelschaf appropriate type desired with the emphasis forest sheep (central mountain region) and stone sheep (alpine region).

Present situation

The forest sheep breed took a pleasing upswing in Bavaria. Probably 10 stove book breeders will soon have to be registered with approx. 150 nut/mother sheep entered in the breed book. Parallel to it within the area of the state capital Munich was already structured a 50-kopfstarke herd of gene reserve. The stone sheep within the area of the Bavarian alps exists only in quite small number of items. Here still much pioneer work is necessary. The Boehmerwaldschaf, as previously mentioned, was developed to a large population. This shrinks at present however rapidly there due to the economic restructuring in the CSFR. The Sumavaschaf might be considered within a short time again as threatened. In the case of the Ziktaschafes in Hungary it remains hoping that also in the future will receive the national herd of gene reserve can. The residues in the Muehlviertel are not yet completely entered.

1960 were created in Bavaria a working group for the preservation of forest sheep and stone sheep, which was to enable a more intensive co-operation of the breeders. In the future the Danube land alliance for gene reserves (DAGENE) will dedicate itself to an internationally superordinate co-ordination of the attitude measures.

1991 were to be seen the forest sheep for the first time on becoming green week in the context of the special exhibition of endangered utilizable animal races. To 13.10.1991 then the first Waldschafpraemierung in Massing/Niederbayern took place.

The present stock in Bavaria covers over 200 nut/mother sheep with 8 different Bavarian support lines. In addition further 3 support lines come from Boehmen. 1988 were tried by an import from 20 breed sheep the CSFR to extend the very blood-close Bavarian population genetically.

1991 at 120 Bavarian and boehmischen forest sheep investigations of the group of bloods and Serumproteinpolimorphismus were executed. These investigations showed that the races Zikta -, forest and Boehmerwaldschaf genetically much to be close itself. They show clear thing in common and can from other races, in particular by merino and Zackelschafen be distinguished clearly. Within the population of the Bavarian forest sheep however 2 Untertypen can be differentiated, a larger more schlichtwolliger type as well as a smaller mischwolliger type. The latter is to a large extent genetically identical to the examined boehmichen animals.

Description of breed target

The description of breed target updated by the working group calls a small to medium sized, usually white sheep. Also brown and black animals occur. The fleece must be in colored, the unbewollten regions can be gescheckt. The forest sheep is mischwollig predominantly. The head profile is straight and the nasal bone is easily curved with the male animal. The ears are away horizontally or easily hanging. The animals are fine-linked with very hard claws. The male animals are frequently gehoernt.

Performance specification

The animals are undemanding and fodder grateful. They can be held also under unfavorable climatic conditions. Conspicuous feature is the large fertility. Zwillingslammungen are the rule. The first Lammung is usually with 13 months. Most animals lammen 2mal annually. The fertility is situated depending upon attitude conditions with on the average 180 - 200 %. the dams have a good milk production with according to high raising rate of the lambs. The supports achieve a lebendgewicht from 60 to 70 kg, dams 40 - 55 kg. The mast performance of the lambs is with 180 to 200 g daily increase. This is achieved however without each force fodder addition. Feeding the dams takes place just as preferably extensively. The fleece weight achieves 3.5 kg with old supports and 3.0 kg with dams.

Future prospects

The forest sheep is still to be classified with the current population size as very endangered. A further enlargement of the stock is urgently necessary. The promotion measures of the Bavarian Department of State for nutrition, agriculture and forests in form of an annual attitude premium of DM 40, - per stove book nut/mother represent for this a good incentive. The present number of dams does not permit all too strict selection. The genetic spread of this race zuechterisch never processed is understandably very large. In addition still earlier a crossing influences come. It is a difficult function for the future to receive on the one hand the genetic spread and thus adaptability of the old race to standardize on the other hand the outward picture. Here must urgently be warned of to strict selection criteria. Intensive selection is however surely possible and necessary with the father animals. It would be desirable to produce as large a number of father animals and pertinent descendants as possible in order to then possess sufficient selection material. This is primarily a challenge for the stove book breeders. A further assistance with the preservation of the forest sheep represents the structure of the mentioned gene reserve within the area of the city Munich as well as the system of sperm depots, already taken place.

The forest sheep is, like formerly the Zaupelschaf, a durable extensive land race with a very calm character, which can compete reliably not with the modern high speed races and may. Its strength is situated in the being sufficient SAMNESS on the one hand and in the high fertility and Asaisonalitaet on the other hand. Thus it is suitable not only for extensive landscape conservation, but also for continuous lamb production. If one combines the good nut/mother characteristics and the high fertility of the forest sheep with the growth rate of a meat race, then quite also an economic success can be achieved in the context of a customs crossing in lamb production.

On international level in the meantime a good co-operation with Austria and Tschechien insists, where residues of this sheep race are to be likewise found. By the economic restructuring in Tschechien the Boehmi forest sheep is however strongly threatened from becoming extinct.

Race responsible person:

Peter Neugebauer, Weisleithen 6, 94166 Stubenberg, Tel: 08571/8958


Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen e.V. (GEH),

Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.


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Added January 15, 1997