Based on descriptions and studies of paintings owned by the Ryksmuseum in Amsterdam, we now know that the Dutch Spotted Sheep originated around 1800. Generatons of farmers and old documentation confirm that Dutch Spotted Sheep were kept in an area in the western part of the country, roughly between the cities of Leiden, Utrecht and Rotterdam.
In medieval times these areas were more commonly peat bogs with huge lakes and swampy areas. During the 17th - 19th Centuries, farmers and authorities made low embankments (quays) which sat approximatel 1 metre above the water level. Where possible a thin layer of clay was spread on the peat, then teh water from surrounding lakes was pumped out using windmills, resulting in large swamp areas. After a few years, farmers started reclaiming and developing the newly obtained land. It was then necessary to make these embankments more robust against the water by covering them with grass. Under no circumstances were trees acceptable, as they could destry the embankment in a storm and the water would then flow back.
Farmers needed a hardy breed of sheep to maintain the grass but more importantly to eat any saplings. The sheep had to be able to walk long distances due to the length of the connected embankments and also to withstand the acidic PH level of the peat bogs. They selected the original Dutch Spotted Sheep for the task. While the Dutch Spotted which were used on the reclaimed land, they also played an important part in transforming the peat bog into sod, strong enough to carry cows.
During the 1950s, farmers began to make use of the specific qualities of the original Dutch Spotted and crossed them with other breeds, such as Texel and Zwartbles, thus producing a sheep with greater profitability and benefts with the characteristics of the modern dy DSS. In the last two and a half decades DSS have not been crossed with any other breeds and are now classed as a pure sheep in their own right.
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