National Romeldale CVM Conservancy
|The National Romeldale-CVM Conservancy
California Variegated Mutant Sheep
or more fondly referred to as Romeldale-CVMs
Romeldale-CVM sheep generally have a clean face, although sometimes wool is found on the forehead. The
body is sturdy and well-boned, with a long, straight back. Neck and shoulders should be largely free of
Mature rams will weigh from 225-275 pounds while mature ewes range from 140-175 pounds.
Romeldales come in white, which can exhibit spots on their faces, ears, or legs. Romeldales also are
natural colored. Natural colored Romeldales further break down into two categories: those with at
least 5 of any visible parts of the traditional badger markings listed below are deemed to be CVMís;
while all other animals, solid and patterned, fall into the random-patterned and solid natural colored
category. Natural colored Romeldales can be solid, or can have spots, or striping. The colors in this
breed range from white, taupe and gray, plus all the way to the deepest chocolate and black. The original
CVMís had a barred face badger pattern which can still be seen today.
Traditional CVM 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
All above areas are light instead of the traditional black or brown, and the rest of the animalís body
is dark wool. This pattern can have random light/dark spots also on the animal.
****Using the above traditional CVM markings as an example:
If the animal has 5 or more of the 7 traditional markings, it would be considered a CVM. Otherwise, it
would fall into a random-patterned and solid natural colored category.
Unlike many colored sheep, Romeldale-CVMs will not fade with age, but rather darken from birth to their
first year. The other dominant trait in this breed is that the sheepís wool softens as it gets older.
These two traits alone set this breed apart from all others. Strong twinning, particularly easy lambing,
superior wool and a desirable meat carcass were all a part of the original breed selection process.
CVM ewes are known to breed while still suckling with lambs at their side if exposed to a ram. Ewes
are protective, dedicated mothers, prolific and long lived. Rams are aggressive and virile breeders,
able to cover more than the standard number of ewes.
The California Variegated Mutant, or CVM, is a mutation of the Romeldale sheep, a dual purpose breed
developed by A. T. Spencer in the early 1900's. Mr. Spencer crossed imported New Zealand Marsh
Romney rams with his Rambouillet ewes to increase the staple and length of fleece and to improve the
During the 1960's, Glen Eidman found a multi-colored ewe lamb in his purebred Romeldale flock. Two years
later, a ram lamb with the same coloration pattern was born. When the ewe and ram were crossed, the
resulting offspring also had the same unique color pattern. Through subsequent breeding and further
mutations, the CVM breed was painstakingly developed by Glen Eidman 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, only the top 2/3 of the flock was dispersed.
|Romeldale-CVM sheep are the most critically rare breed of sheep
in the US today according to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
- Fleece darker and softer with age
- Bradford Count: 60-64
- Wide variety of colors
Today there are fewer than 20 breeders in the country, and we welcome all whose passion is to
participate in assisting the National Romeldale-CVM Conservancy's effort to preserve the original genetics.
Saving such a worthy piece of American history is an important endeavor, as fanciers today most
certainly would NOT be able to duplicate Glen Eidman's extraordinarily-selective breeding program
used to develop the breed.
Glen's son Mark continued to be a pivotal and important spokesman for the preservation of his
father's incredible living legacy. Mark Eidman was the Technical Advisor for the first and original
American Romeldale CVM Registry (ARCR) up until the tim eof his death.
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. 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 from base to tip with no kemp present. Truly, it is wool developed with the
hand spinner and fiber artist in mind.....easy to spin...wonderful to work with....and an absolute
delight. No wonder Romeldale-CVM is so sought after by the fiber community.
The Conservancy operates completely on a volunteer staff and donations. We are a 501(C)3 non-profit making
it easier for individuals and business alike to be able to not only help the Romeldale-CVM as an endangered
breed, but also be able to use it as a tax deductible donation. Our mission is to preserve this most unique
breed as part of the heritage we hold in this country today.