While the interest in dairy sheep products in Austria is growing and the number of dairy sheep (Ovis orientalis aries) is increasing, methods to monitor dairy sheep health and welfare are gaining importance. On-farm welfare assessment protocols for cattle, pigs, and poultry including animal-based parameters have recently been developed (e.g. in the course of the EU Welfare Quality® project), but less attention has been paid to the development of assessment schemes for sheep, specifically dairy sheep, so far. The present work aims at developing a prototype on-farm welfare assessment protocol for dairy sheep suitable for the Austrian production system including mainly animal-based parameters. The project was carried out in three steps: Firstly, a study in the form of a questionnaire was conducted among farmers asking them for indicators of good and poor sheep welfare. Secondly, a literature research was carried out, and a draft version of an on-farm welfare assessment protocol for dairy sheep - based on scientific literature as well as the outcomes of the questionnaires - was developed. Thirdly, the draft protocol was tested at three Austrian dairy sheep farms and revised during this process to ensure its feasibility. The overall outcome of this project is a prototype on-farm welfare assessment protocol for dairy sheep structured into distinct modules including a collection of general data about the farm, behavioural observations, an evaluation of the water provision, and an assessment of individuals. It is accompanied by additional explanations and it can be applied within one day by a single person. The protocol should represent a tool for farmers, veterinarians, and independent farm inspectors to monitor dairy sheep welfare, and it facilitates comparisons across farms and time. It allows to recognise good animal welfare and highlight acute welfare problems using a combination of measures for the welfare of individual animals and for the overall flock welfare.