Hillgrove Babydoll Southdown sheep ram lambs ram miniature sheep


The History of Babydoll Sheep in Australia

The Southdown sheep were originally farmed in the southern part of the counties of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Dorsetshire in England. They are named Southdowns after the long range of chalky hills where they were originally grazed.

In Australia the Southdown dates back to the beginnings of the sheep industry; coming to Australia on the First Fleet and over time, breed characteristics have been changed by breeders to better meet Australian conditions. The sheep has changed to a much larger framed and heavier Southdown with very short wool on their faces, long necks and legs.. This type of Southdown is sometimes known as the ‘Modern Southdown’ and most Southdowns in Australia are of this type.

Fortunately for the Babydoll sheep, the Metcalf brothers, Dick and Bill, continued to breed the small, stocky type of Southdown, which they called the ‘Original Southdown.’ The Metcalf brothers were very successful breeders and won many championships with their Original Southdowns.

The Metcalf brothers eventually passed their stud onto Mr & Mrs Murray and Judy Peart, who continued to produce the Original Southdown at Hillgrove Stud near Greenhill in Central Victoria. We are very fortunate that Hillgrove Stud has stayed true to the original Southdown as without them it is doubtful if they would have survived for us to enjoy today.

Hillgrove Babydoll Southdowns ewes sheep

In America, a similar situation evolved. In 1990 Mr Robert Mock decided to locate as many Original Southdowns as he could. With much difficulty and much travelling, he found enough to form an adequate gene pool. He initiated a registry to protect their bloodlines and the term ‘Babydoll’ originates from here.


This name was formally adopted in Australia by the Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (ASSBA) in 2020 and Babydolls now have their own section in the ASSBA Flock Registry.