Sheep Centre - Sheep Breeds
A Welsh mountain breed with close wool, the Balwen is distinguished by its white blaze, socks and white tail on an otherwise dark chocolate / black fleece
Castlemilk Moorit
A tan or moorit coloured primitive breed from Dumfriesshire from crosses between Shetland, Wild Mouflon and Manx Loghtan sheep.
Said to be descended from sheep introduced to these hills by the Romans, it was the long wool Cotswold breed which was so popular during the Middle Ages when this area was the centre of a thriving and profitable wool industry. The Lord Chancellors wool sack is stuffed with Cotswold wool.
Dorset Down
Developed in the 19th century from crossing Southdown rams onto Hampshire and Wiltshire breeds they are polled with a white fleece and black face. Famous for breeding out of season so they can produce early lambs.
Greyface Dartmoor
A longwool breed from the West Country Moors, they have a distinctive, heavy fleece of curly lustre wool. Hornless, they are white with black spots on the nose.
Usually a dark brown colour, the Hebridean is horned in both sexes, some rams having 4 horns. From the Western Isles, the Hebridean became popular as a parkland sheep in England in the 19th century. A primitive breed, tests indicate that the meat is low in saturated fats. Widely used in conservation grazing projects.
Hill Radnor
A tan or brown faced breed from the Welsh marches, the rams are horned and the ewes are polled.
Kerry Hill
An alert and showy breed from the hills of Mid-Wales, it has panda-like markings on the face with upright ears and black feet and a very upstanding carriage. Both sexes are polled.
Leicester Longwool
Probably the most famous of British sheep, being directly descended from the Dishley Leicester which was created by Robert Bakewell towards the end of the 18th century. The Leicester Longwool is able to survive and thrive in a wide range of environments. It is a large longwool breed with a white face and grey nose. There is also a coloured variety that has black or brown markings on the face, legs and in the fleece.
Lincoln Longwool
The Lincoln is one of the oldest of Longwool breeds, producing the heaviest and most lustrous fleece. Its main function was to produce wool and, at the end of its productive life, a large mutton carcass. The Lincoln Longwool is a heavy white faced polled breed with a characteristic forelock of wool.
The breed originated in West Wales in the late 19th century from the horned Llanllwni (now extinct) and Shropshire breeds. The Llanwenog is a medium sized short wool breed. It has black legs and head with a tuft of wool on the forehead. As a grassland breed its main purpose is to produce prime meat lambs from grass.
Manx Loghtan
A primitive breed from the Isle of Man - 'Loghtan' means mouse brown. Most examples are 2 or 4 horned, but occasionally 6 horned and polled exampes are to be seen.
North Ronaldsay
This breed evolved in the isolated environment of the Orkney Islands. Its most distinctive characteristic is that of existing on a diet of seaweed for most of the year. The semi feral flock on the North Ronaldsay is confined to the foreshore for most of the year to conserve the limited grazing inland. A small flock has been established by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust on the uninhabited island of Linga Holm.
Oxford Down
The Oxford Down has a strong solid body with broad head and shoulders. The face is dark in colour and well covered with wool. The short close fleece is of fine quality and covers the whole body and legs of the animal. The head is adorned with a "top-knot". The Oxford is the largest of the Down breeds and evolved in the 1800s when several breeders used Hampshire Down and Southdown ewes with Cotswold rams to produce a large sheep with quality mutton.
From Dorset, both sexes are horned with brown or tan faces and legs. Lambs are born a foxy brown colour but the fleece gradually turns grey or white.
Native of the islands north of Scotland, the primitive Shetland sheep come in a wide variety of colours from white through grey, fawn, brown to almost black as well as mixtures of these. Tough, hardy and fine-boned, the Shetland is renowned for the quality of its wool with Shetland knitwear being world famous
A medium sized sheep of the downland type, they were developed in the 19th century from breeds native to the Welsh borders crossed with Southdowns and possibly the Leicester.
Another small, primitive breed from the remote St. Kilda islands, the Soay is regarded as a link between wild and domesticated sheep. Brown in colour with lighter colouring on the rump, under the belly, around the eyes and under the jaw. Both sexes are usually horned.
The Southdown has been known in its native area of the Sussex downs since at least the mid 1700's. It was a very popular breed up to the last 30 years. With well developed hindquarters they still have much to offer the quality meat trade.
From the Teesdale area of County Durham, the Teeswater is a polled Longwool breed with a heavy, high-lustre kemp-free fleece. The wool is among the highest grades at the BWMB.
Its distinctive blue skin allows the Wensleydale to prosper in hot climates. It is a large breed producing top quality wool which attracts a premium. Developed in 19th century from mating a Leicester ram onto a Teeswater, the Wensleydale is always polled.
Whitefaced Woodland
A large hill breed from Penistone area where Derbyshire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire meet. Both sexes are horned the rams spiralling outwards. Distinctive white legs and face with pink or part-pink nostrils.
Wiltshire Horn
The Wilshire Horn grows no wool but has a coat of thick hair. This has many management advantages particularly when wool prices are low. They are good foragers and produce quality carcasses from poor grazing, helped by their long legs allowing them to reach areas denied to other breeds.
Copyright: Seven Sisters Sheep Centre 2015