Canada's sheep breeders say their deal to supply breeding ewes to Qatar will not compete with Australia's live sheep exports to the Middle East.
There are only 500,000 breeding ewes in Canada and the industry says it's being held back by the ban on live trade with the US.
Movement of sheep across the border was banned after mad cow disease or BSE was confirmed in Canada in 2003.
The Canadian Sheep Federation's Jennifer McTavish expects just a couple of hundred sheep will be exported, compared to the 65,000 Australian sheep for slaughter, unloaded by Wellard Rural Exports last week.
"We're trying to grow our industry for sure," she said.
"Since the border closed to the US - and it remains closed to sheep because of mad cow disease identified in 2003 - we've been trying to identify export markets for our breeding stock.
"One of the things we've found is that when we have a diverse market, an export and domestic market, it actually encourages our flock to grow and increases our production."
The breed is a Canadian Rideau Arcott sheep, which produces multiple lambs and breeds out of season.
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