Sheep

Southdown

Breed Characteristics

  • Southdowns are docile and easy to manage, and because of their moderate size, they require less space than most other breeds of sheep.

  • Southdowns are winning numerous supreme championships over all breeds at shows across the United States. 

  • The Southdown is one of the oldest purebred sheep breeds in the world. The breed originated centuries ago in the hills of Sussex, England, long know as the "Downs."

Merino

Breed Characteristics

  • Merino are primarily grown for wool production.

  • Their wool is almost totally absorbed by the textile trade, in particular high-quality apparel wool.

  • The strain is large-framed and relatively plain-bodied, producing a heavy fleece which is soft-handling and of good color, with a fiber diameter of 20 to 22 microns.

  •  Staple length is approximately 90 mm / 3.5 inches.

  • Merino is also a favorite of handspinners for its soft handle.

Rambouillet

Breed Characteristics

  • Rambouillet rams weigh between 250 and 300 pounds (113 to 135 kg), while ewes range from 150 to 200 pounds (68 to 90 kg).

  • Mature ewes will have a fleece weigh of 8 to 18 pounds (3.6 to 8.1 kg) with a yield of 35 to 55 percent.

  •  The fleece staple length will vary from two to four inches (5 to 10 cm) and range in fiber diameter from 18.5 to 24.5 microns or 60 to 80 for the numerical count.

Targhee

Breed Characteristics

  • Targhee Mature body weight in the rams is 200 to 300 pounds (90 to 135 kg) with the ewes weighing slightly less at 125 to 200 pounds (56 to 90 kg).

  • Each ewe will average a 10 to 14 pound (4.5 to 6.3 kg) fleece that has a micron measurement of 25 to 21 and a spinning count of 64 to 58.

  •  The staple length of the fleece will be 3 to 5 inches (7.5 to 11 cm) with a yield of 50 to 55 percent.

Icelandic

Breed Characteristics

  • The Icelandic sheep are of medium size with mature ewes weighing 150 to 160 pounds. and rams 200 to 220 pounds.
  • They are fine-boned with open face, legs, and udders.
  • The fleece has an inner and outer coat typical of the more primitive breeds, with the fine, downy undercoat being called thel and the long, coarser outercoat called tog. The fleeces are open and not very greasy.
  • The average fleece weighs 4 to 5 pounds in grease. Due to the length of fiber, the openness of the wool, the natural colors and the versatility, fleeces are usually sold through specialty markets to handspinners.

Romney

Breed Characteristics

  • Historically a dual-purpose breed, remains so today, and is found in every type of farming environment

  • The Romney fleece is unique among all breeds of sheep in the way it combines several important traits.

  • The fleece is lustrous and hangs in separate locks, with minimal cross fibers between the locks. It is also high-yielding and easily spun.

Border Cheviot

Breed Characteristics

  • Cheviots produce generous fleeces of white wool which is preferred by mills because its fineness, crimp, and length of staple give it superior spinning and combing qualities, and its low grease content causes less shrinkage in scouring.

  • As sheep weights go, it is definitely one of the smaller breeds

  • Much of its distinctive appearance is due to the high carriage of the head and the quick, coordinated stride.

Doper

Breed Characteristics

  • The modern day Dorper is numerically the second largest breed in South Africa with over 10 million head.

  • The Blackhead Persian sheep, a hardy, fat-tailed desert breed from Arabia, brings to the Dorper its hardiness, thriftiness, adaptability, pigmentation and hair covering.

  • remarkable fertility, with the ability to breed every eight months and to produce a high number of twins.

Suffolks

Breed Characteristics

  • Mature weights for Suffolk rams range from 250 to 350 pounds (113-159 kg), ewe weights vary from 180 to 250 pounds (81-113 kg).

  • Fleece weights from mature ewes are between five and eight pounds(2.25-3.6 kg) with a yield of 50 to 62 percent. 

  • The staple length of Suffolk Fleece ranges from 2 to 3.5 inches (5-6.75 cm).

Hampshires

Breed Characteristics

  • Hampshire rams are used to sire quality, fast growing market lambs on ranches and farms around the world.

  • Mature rams should weigh 300 pounds or more.

  • Hampshires are muscular sheep with mild dispositions. Hampshire sheep can be differentiated from other breeds by an unbroken wool cap that should extend from their neck over their forehead. Hampshires also should have some wool beneath the knee.

  • Hampshire ewes typically produce at least 2 strong and active lambs each year. 

Shetland

Breed Characteristics

  • Rams usually weigh 90 to 125 pounds and ewes about 75 to 100 pounds.

  • They are fine-boned and agile and their naturally short, fluke-shaped tails do not require docking.

  • Although Shetlands are small and relatively slow growing, they maintain natural hardiness, thriftiness, easy lambing, adaptability and longevity.

Oxford

Breed Characteristics

  • The Oxford has a bold, masculine head, well set on a strong neck, with poll well-covered with wool and adorned by top knot.

  • When fully matured and in good condition, rams are to weigh over 250 pounds and ewes over 200 pounds.

  • An Oxford is expected to shear 10 to 12 pounds annually of quality fleece.

Shropshires

Breed Characteristics

  • Alert, attractive and stylish appearance, showing the true characteristics of

  • Shropshires were first imported in 1855 into the United States and in 1884 the American Shropshire Registry was founded.

  • Today the Shropshire breed has continued to establish itself as a leader in the industry by becoming the first black faced, slick sheared breed.

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