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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Artiodactyla · Bovidae · Ovis dalli

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Ovis dalli

Dall's Sheep

Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae

Image of Ovis dalli
Ovis dalli - typical coloring, left; O. dalli stonei (Yukon, British Columbia) coloring, right (male, upper; female lower)
Click to enlarge this image. (80 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Dall's Sheep inhabit undisturbed and extremely rugged mountains. They migrate between summer and winter ranges, eating grasses and shrubs. Males and females live apart except during the mating season. Both sexes have horns, which - as with all bovids - are permanent, not shed annually as are antlers. Bovid horns have a bony core that is attached to the skull and a horny outer sheath. The horns of Dall's Sheep grow throughout the animal's lifetime, developing annual bands that can be counted much like tree-rings. Males' horns are larger. Predators include wolves, lynx, coyote, grizzly bears, and wolverines, and lambs are sometimes taken by golden eagles. Lambs are born in May in the safety of secluded cliffs, which they are able to negotiate with their mothers within 24 hours. To survive their first hard winter, they have to gain weight rapidly.

Also known as:

Stone's Sheep, Fannin's Sheep

Sexual Dimorphism:

Males are much heavier than females.


Range: 1.3-1.8 m males; 1.3-1.6 m females


Range: 73-110 kg males; 46-50 kg females


Nelson, E.W., 1884.  A new geographic race of mountain sheep (Ovis montana dalli) from Alaska.  Proceedings of theUnited States Museum, 7:12-13.


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Distribution of Ovis dalli

Image of Ovis dalli
Click to enlarge this image. (59kb)

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