Pedigree References for AI Import Rams

Seven UK rams have been imported for use in upgrading the American Teeswater Sheep. The pedigrees of those import rams was researched by ATSA member S. Holtby and the Teeswater Sheep Breeders Association past secretary D. Newey.

Pedigree information provided herein is in reliance on records from the TSBA and breeders involved in the importation of semen. Flock names are available through the TSBA in the yearly flock book publication.

With the current suspension of semen importation into the US, there is very little UK ram semen available in the US for breeding. For this reason the ATSA has instituted an exception to the standard upgrading policy that requires use of AI for first generation animals by allowing the use of ATSA registered approved rams for F1 breedings. Refer to the Registration and Breed up Guidelines for more information.

The Importance of a Proper Foundation

The logistics involved with collecting and importing UK semen make it a difficult and expensive proposition. USDA protocols to ensure that diseases are not introduced into US flocks require extensive quarantine, testing and tracking requirements. Collection and preservation of semen is in itself a difficult proposition and not all rams produce semen that will have reasonable fertility once thawed. For that reason, it has been impractical to collect and import a large number of rams to provide expanded genetic diversity. Careful study of the AI ram pedigrees will reveal that three of them are directly related, and the relatively small population of animals on both sides of the Ocean make it impractical to expect that a “completely unrelated” animal is a real possibility.

However, realistically, the same statements could be made for every purebred breeding pool in existence, irrespective of species. Such concentration of genetics is necessary to produce the type that differentiates Teeswaters from Cotswolds or Lincolns or something else. It also means that additional consideration needs to be given to the selection of foundation stock, in order to provide some reasonable assurance that breeders can pursue programs that use heavy line breeding, in order to concentrate and promulgate those Teeswater genetics without introducing negative latent characteristics or weaknesses that may remain undetected for generations, and once expressed destroying years of careful work.

The ATSA recently introduced a Foundation Registry to provide breeders with an opportunity to improve Foundation breeding either prior to use of AI breeding or in conjunction with an ongoing upgrading program. The purpose of the registry is to mimic the UK Section 22 exception that allows animals of good Teeswater type to be included in the A appendix and used in the production of future generations of Teeswaters. The ATSA believes that this model provides an appropriate balance of genotypic and phenotypic evaluation and provides breeders a way to improve their type and introduce new genetics. Refer to the Breeding and Upgrading Guidelines for additional information