The CVM Romeldale is the rarest of North America’s rare breeds. They are critically endangered according to The Livesock Conservancy.
The Romeldale is a dual purpose breed developed by A. T. Spencer in the early 1900's. Spencer crossed imported New Zealand Marsh Romney rams with his Rambouillet ewes with the intent to increase the staple and quality of fleece and to improve the carcass quality. The breed was futher established by the Sexton Family in the 1940’s and 50’s.
Romeldales are white and while they may exhibit spots on their face, ears or legs, should have entirely white fleece. Natural Colored Romeldales come in a variety of colors and color patterns, including dark grey, black, moorit, white, silver and spotted.
The California Variegated Mutant, or CVM, is a color mutation within the the Romeldale breed. During the 1960's, Glen Eidman found a multi-colored ewe lamb in his purebred Romeldale flock. Two years later, a ram lamb with a similar color pattern was born. When the ewe and ram were crossed, the resulting offspring also had the same unique color pattern. Through subsequent breeding the CVM breed was painstakingly developed over a 15-year period. During that time, Mr. Eidman did not sell any of the CVM sheep in order to maintain complete control over the breed’s development. Upon retirement in 1982, much of the flock was dispersed.
The CVM is distinguished from the Romeldale by having at least five of the following markings.
Badger markings on face: dark eyes
Badger markings on face: dark muzzle
Badger markings on face: striping down sides of face
Dark legs: either black or brown, or both (can have white markings in this area also)
Dark chest (from the chin all the way to the underbelly)
Dark area under tail
Unlike many colored sheep, the CVM Romeldale's color will darken and soften with age. Staple length averages 3 to 6 inches with a Bradford count of 60 to 64. The wool is soft and can be worn “next to the skin”. With a well defined crimp it is easy to spin and is a pleasure to work with.