Most people in the US are unfamiliar with Dairy Sheep Breeds so it comes as no surprise that many have not heard of the Awassi. Up until now, only two breeds of dairy sheep have been available in the US, the EastFriesian and the Lacaune. Two dairy sheep breeds from from Germany and France, respectively. Now a third breed joins us. The Awassi is a triple purpose breed of sheep used for it meat, wool and milk but primarily kept for it's milk. This breed is usually said to be from Israel but it can be found in many Middle Eastern Countries as it is the primary breed of sheep raised in that region of the world. Aside for it high milk production, the breed is know for its hardiness. The breed has been developed under a nomadic model in some one of the harshest environments on the planet, so one can see how it has become such a resilient breed of sheep. Dairy sheep tend to be rather fragile, the Awassi breaks that mold.
Ever since the Mad Cow scare back in the early 90s, the US has forbidden the transport of livestock into the country. This is why there is such a lack of dairy sheep in the country. Most arrived here either before the livestock ban or were brought through by some sort of loophole like the insemination of foreign embryos into US stock. This is how we no have Awassi in the US. In 2012, Paolo Losecco of Losecco Farms in Wood Dale, Illinois, imported 32 Awassi embryos from a breeder in Australia and had them implanted into Ewes in the United States. Those ewes have given birth to the first Awassi sheep in the US. As of this post, rams are now available for purchase from Paolo Losecco. Pictures of some of these rams are posted below. There is lot of potential now for this breed to grow in the US and more and more people gain access to them. We now have 3 breeds in the US and with this Awassi stock a fourth breed can even be created. The Assaf dairy sheep breed, originates from Israel. It is the result of a cross between East Friesian and Awassi sheep. 3/8 East Friesian and 5/8 Awassi being the ideal cross for best production and hardiness. If you are interested in being a part of the propagation of the Awassi breed in the US, you may contact Paolo Losecco by email at Losecco@sbcglobal.net or on his phone at 630-514-9690.