Dall Sheep

dall sheep
Dall Sheep
PhotoDisc Blue/Getty Images

Named after U.S. zoologist W.H. Dall, this agile creature is also called the white sheep.

It is usually found in groups of five to ten, feeding on grasses, sedges, and herbs growing on steep rocky terrain where access is difficult for others — including predators.


Winter movement to lower areas offers better feeding grounds, and large migratory groups often form as a safety-in-numbers measure on the open, flat ground, where they are vulnerable.

The sexes stay segregated during summer and come together during the autumn breeding season, when male aggression runs strong and fierce duels involving violent horn-blows sometimes leave the males stunned. The winners of such contests gain a higher standing in the herd and access to the females.


Animal Facts

Name: Dall Sheep (Ovis dalli)

Family: Bovidae (Cattle and Relatives)


Range: Alaska, northwest Canada

Habitat: Alpine regions with harsh environments

Diet: Grass, leaves, herbs, sedges, twigs, shoots, lichens and moss

Head and Body Length: 5 to 6 feet (1.4 to 1.8 m)

Tail Length: about 4 inches (10 cm)

Shoulder Height: 36 to 40 inches (91 to 102 cm)

Weight: 132 to 198 pounds (60 to 90 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating November to December; gestation about 180 days, one lamb born

Description: White fur; yellow eyes; massive, curling horns; black nose; stocky build; small tail; black hooves

Conservation Status: Not listed by the IUCN.