Assaf sheep are the
result of crossbreeding between Awassi and East Friesian Milk sheep. In 1955,
researchers of the Israeli Agricultural Research Organization (A.R.O) started
this project aiming to improve the fecundity of the Awassi sheep. A combination
of 3/8 East Friesian and 5/8 Awassi blood emerged as the best cross.
Most dairy sheep
breeders in Israel have adopted the Assaf, which is considered not only a top
quality dairy sheep and excellent mutton producer, but is also well-adapted to
semi-extensive to extensive production systems. Under Israeli conditions, in
which ewes have approximately 3 lambings in 2 years, the annual milk yield is
450 liters. The demand for Assaf sheep is increasing every year. They have been
exported to Spain, Portugal, Chile and Peru.