CVM/Romeldale Flock

CVM/Romeldale Information

The Romeldale is an American fine wool breed, and the California Variegated Mutant, or CVM, is its multi-colored derivative. Both the CVM and the Romeldale are unique to the United States and are endangered.
The Romeldale was developed in California by A. T. Spencer in the early 1900s. Spencer purchased the entire contingent of New Zealand Romney rams that were exhibited at the 1915 Pan American Exposi-tion in San Francisco. He bred these rams to his Rambouillet ewes, with the goal of improving both the meat and wool qualities of his stock.
This group of Romney-Rambouillet crosses were bred for several years and selected for both wool and meat quality. They became known as Romeldales. Much of the establishment of the Romeldale breed was accomplished by the J. K. Sexton family during the 1940s and 1950s. The Sextons selected the sheep for high rates of twinning, maternal ability, and non-seasonal reproduction. Soft-handling wool was also a priority, as was fleece weight (ten to fifteen pounds) with a grade of 60s to 64s. The wool of the Sexton flocks was so highly regarded that for many years the entire clip was sold to Pendleton Mills.
During the 1960s, colored lambs appeared in the Romeldale breed. Glen Eidman, a partner of the Sextons, became interested in these sheep and linebred them for several generations, further selecting for fleece quality. He referred to this group of sheep as California Variegated Mutants, usually shortened to CVM.
Romeldale sheep are white, but the classic color pattern of the CVM is the badger-face, a light body with a dark belly and dark head. This pattern creates a range of shades of color on a single fleece. Selection has increased the range of colors to include gray, black, brown, and moorit. Fleececolors darken during maturation rather than fading as the sheep ages.
CVM and Romeldale sheep may be considered two parts of a single breed. With the exception of color, CVMs and Romeldales have similar characteristics. The sheep weigh 150–275 pounds. The rams are active breeders, while the ewes are excellent mothers, prolific and long-lived. Twinning and ease of lambing are considered impor-tant breed attributes.
The CVM and Romeldale sheep have never been numerous, and today they are quite rare.The breed’s fleece quality and performance characteristics, however, make them useful for many production systems and valuable to handspinners and other fiber artists.
(Quoted from ALBC)

 Breed Standard: 
The Romeldale is a dual purpose breed of sheep developed by A.T. Spencer. Spencer purchased New Zealand Romney rams in 1915 at the Pan-American Exposition in San Francisco to breed with his Rambouillet flock. He felt that the Romneys would increase the staple length of the wool and improve the carcass quality of the Rambouillets. Many years of selected breeding brought about this new American breed, the Romeldale.

Romeldales are known for fine, soft wool, extremely high yield and uniformity of the fleece. Romeldale carcass cutability is suprerior to the other white face breeds. The entire clip of the original Romeldale flock was sold to Pendleton Mills for many years. The J.K. Sexton family developed the highest quality Romeldale flock in the world, during the 40's and 50's, at their Stone Valley Ranch in California.

1. Face and Head: Generally open faced, although some wool on the forehead and cheeks is allowed. Eyes should be large, clear and alert with ears medium in size and generally horitonzal.

2. Body: Sturdy and well boned with a long straight back. Neck and shoulders should be largely free of skin folds. Legs should be strong, medium in length, with pasterns strong and upright. Sheep should move well with a free, easy walk.

3. Rams: Weigh from 225 to 275 lbs. and are virile breeders able to cover more than the average number of ewes. Rams should appear strongly masculine.

4. Ewes: Weigh from 140 to 175 lbs. Ewes should be excellent mothers, who are very protective and have enough milk to easily raise twins. They are prolific and long-lived, and they should have a feminine appearance.

5. Lambing: Twininng and ease of lambing are part of the breed emphasis. If left with the ram, ewes have been known to breed while still suckling lambs.

6. Fleece: Annually, each sheep grows an average of 6 to 12 pounds of wool with an average yield of 65%. Fleece should be bright, dense and uniform from front to britch. Belly wool shall only be allowed on the belly. Staple length averages 3 to 6 inches with a Bradford count of 60 to 64 or the Range for Average Fiber Diameter (um) 24.94 to 20.60. The wool is soft and can be worn next to the skin. The wool should have a well defined crimp from base to tip with no kemp or hair present.

7. Color: Romeldales come in two varieties. White and Natural Colored. White Romeldales should have entirely white fleeces. They may have spots on their face, ears, or legs. Natural Colored Romeldales can be solid, reverse badger, and can have spots (which are particularly prevalent on their faces). They may also have darker legs than their body.

California Variegated Mutant (CVM) Pattern

CVMs have the same standards as listed under Romeldale, with the exception of markings and color.

1. Markings: CVMs must have badger markings, which are stripes from the muzzle to the eyes and/or dark legs and underbelly. CVMs might also have spots, but must have the badger pattern as well.

2. Color: CVMs come in a wide variety of colors including dark gray, gray, black, brown, and moorit. Unlike most breeds, CVMs will not fade with age, but rather darken from birth to their first year.
 (Quoted from

Traditional CVM markings:
  1. Badger markings on face: dark eyes
  2. Badger markings on face: dark muzzle
  3. Badger markings on face: striping down sides of face
  4. Dark underbelly
  5. Dark legs: either black or brown, or both (can have white markings in this area also)
  6. Dark chest (from the chin all the way to the underbelly)
  7. Dark area under tail
Reverse Badger: All above areas are light instead of the traditional black or brown, and the rest of the animal’s body is dark wool. This pattern can have random light/dark spots also on the animal.
(quoted from

I will post individual microns & fleece shots as they become available.  

Our small flock
Left to Right:  Sampson, Dolly behind him, Delta & Joshua
 The boys!  Joshua (wether)& Sampson(ram)

Samson mid-rib

 The stately Joshua
 Joshua midrib

One of our ewes, Dolly.

Dolly mid-rib

Delta midrib


Delta - 21.8/3.9/17.9
Dolly - 27.3/5.6/20.6
Lily - 26.7/4.9/19.0
Sampson - 31.7/7.1/22.5
Joshua - 22.6/3.9/17.4