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Certification, Registration, and the Progeny Test

The Board of Directors of the Jacob Sheep Conservancy (JSC), at its annual meeting on May 8, 2016, voted to accept registrations from the American Jacob Sheep Registry (AJSR) as equivalent to JSC registrations. This was done in recognition that both the JSC and the AJSR have the same breed standards for certification and registration, including progeny testing. Progeny testing is the process used to verify the genetic purity of breeding animals whose history is unknown. This involves examining their offspring from two breedings to different mates to ensure that the offspring display the traits and characteristics specified in the breed standard. The JSC website explains the multi-step process of progeny testing, certification, and registration beginning here:!certificationregistration-pr/c233r. Once the parent sheep are registered, the process for certifying and registering their offspring is streamlined. The appropriate forms and guidance are found on the JSC website, under “JSC Forms.” Breeders with ASJR-registered sheep who wish to register future sheep with the JSC need only produce documentation of ASJR registration for the parent sheep and register the new Jacob lambs using the streamlined process. For more information, contact JSC Registrar Catherine Snook 


The Progeny Test is the best way we know to ensure that animals are purebred. It is based on the genetic law that states, "like begets like." This test is used to determine the purebred status of UNKNOWN sheep, that is, sheep who have not been progeny-tested and sheep who have no known background. Since the Registry is still "open," these sheep may be considered for registration.


Progeny testing is important for at least two reasons:

  • You cannot know the genetics of an animal by looking at it. Only if it reproduces acceptable offspring can it be called a "Jacob." A breed is defined as a group of animals who reproduce true to breed type. Not all spotted, horned sheep are purebred Jacobs.

  • It is important to determine if a sheep is a .crossbred sheep BEFORE it is issued registration papers. This saves the breeder from spending time and money on a sheep that will never serve him well, and saves some embarrassing moments when sheep buyers do not get expected results from the "registered" sheep they bought. It is important to keep crossbred sheep and their offspring from entering the gene pool of this rare breed.


Registration of an unknown animal is a three-step process.


Step One ·Certification Application. Submit all the information you can on the animal on this form, along with clear pho­ tos. The photos are evaluated by three certifiers from the JSC. If at least two of the three certifiers concur that the sheep looks like a Jacob sheep (no obvious crossbred traits showing), the sheep passes and receives certification. Only sheep from non-JSC-registered parentage must submit to the certification process. The JSC is interested in purebred genetic status only. We do not evaluate conformation or aesthetic aspects of the sheep. The animal is measured against the breed Standard.


Pictures should clearly show the front, rear, and right and left sides of the animal. They should be close color photos show­ ing details of horns, color and feet. The best photo location is a grooming stand or platform. Some people place their ani­ mals on plywood or the bare ground so that hoof details are clear, and not obscured by turf. Distant photos in a field or photos containing multiple animals are not acceptable. Film or digital photography are both acceptable.


Example of Photographs






           Acceptable                                           Poor (shadows)




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