Looking for a breed of sheep for your livestock? If that is your top priority, then this list of the most popular breeds of sheep are for you.
25 Most Popular Breed of Sheep
Sheep are one of the first animals that have been domesticated by humans. History shows that sheep became a domesticated animal between 11000 and 9000 BC. And nowadays sheep are popular in the areas where people has farms and backyards because of its advantages. Sheep is considered as multi-purpose livestock. The four major product from sheep is lamb (sheep's meat younger than 14 months), mutton (sheep's meat older than 14 months), wool and sheep’s milk. When choosing a breed it is vital that you have fully understood the benefits of each breed.
The Merino is a superb forager and absolutely adaptable. It is considered as an economically dominant breed of sheep cherished for its wool. Merino's wool does not stop growing and it needs to be shorn at least once a year because if their coat is allowed to grow, it can cause mobility issue, blindness, and heat stress. Read more about Merino Sheep here.
2. Lincoln Sheep
The Lincoln Sheep is also known as Lincoln Longwool, a breed of sheep from England. It is best known for its exquisite and exceptional wool and fleece that is demanded all over the world for designing and weaving. Read more about Lincoln Sheep here.
3. Dorset Sheep
Dorset Sheep is one of the 2 breeds of sheep that can breed all year round, ( the other one is the Poll Sheep). It has an incredible milk producing and meat providing ability. Dorset Sheep belongs to the breed of sheep that is known to produce delicious meat. Thus, it is a popular domestic sheep for farming that can be easily found in the major states of the U.S. Read more about Dorset Sheep here.
4. Hampshire Sheep
The Hampshire sheep got its name from the agriculture county of Hampshire in Southern England where they were developed. It is known for its superior and mouth-watering mutton. A cross culture breed that results in a varying skin tone appearance, dark-faced, medium wool and a hornless breed. Read more about Hampshire Sheep here.
5. Corriedale Sheep
The Corriedale Sheep is known to be a dual-purpose breed because they are suitable for both meat and fleece production. Corriedales are good mothers and they often give birth to multiple lambs. They're known to be a gentle and easily maintained breed that can do well in hot and cold climates and are found all over the world. Read more about Corriedale Sheep here.
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6. Southdown Sheep
The Southdown Sheep is historically one of the most vital of the British breeds of sheep, priced for fleece, meat, and for improvement of other breeds. The Southdown is docile and adapts very well in captivity. Read more about Southdown Sheep here.
7. Columbia Sheep
The Columbia Sheep is among of the first breeds of sheep developed in the U.S. A medium-wool breed between Lincoln and Rambouillet sheep crosses. The Columbia Sheep are white-faced, polled, and somewhat large in size and are flourishing breeder. Read more about Columbia Sheep here.
8. Shropshire Sheep
The Shropshire Sheep is more fully covered with wool than any other Down breed and grows a particularly heavy, dense fleece. Its wool is admirable with a pleasantly soft handle and is almost free from kemp and grey or black fibres. Shropshire Sheep are active and alert with a free motion. Read more about Shropshire Sheep here.
9. Suffolk Sheep
The Suffolk Sheep is a result of crossing Southdown rams on Norfolk Horned ewes. They are large sheep without horns, dark faces and legs, fine bones and long small necks. Primarily breed for meat, a mature Suffolk sheep weights range from 250 to 350 pounds (113-159 kg). Read more about Suffolk Sheep here.
10. Rambouillet Sheep
The Rambouillet is a noble-looking French version of the Merino. They are distinguishable by its white face and wooly legs. Rambouillet Sheep is considered as one of the leading breeds of fine-wool sheep. They provide farmers a decent rate of growth and suitable carcass. Read more about Rambouillet Sheep here.
11. Cheviot Sheep
The Cheviot Sheep was originated in the Cheviot Hills, on the border of England and Scotland and the modern breed was produced by selection rather than by crossing so, it is a pure breed. The main purpose of this breed is the production of quality lamb. They are a delight to shepherds as they bear their lambs easily, have a high number of twins, and produce plenty of milk to support them. Read more about Cheviot Sheep here.
12. Montadale Sheep
The history of the Montadale breed is one of the most amazing success stories in modern sheep-breeding history. Montadale sheep are average in size and feature bare legs and heads with white wool and black nostrils and hooves. They are also considered as a dual purpose breed noted for producing both high-quality carcasses as well excellent wool. Read more about Montadale Sheep here.
13. Targhee Sheep
The Targhee sheep breed was developed at Dubois, Idaho experimental station in 1926. Their ancestors were Rambouillet, Corriedale and Lincoln sheep and they're hardy and are especially suited to the ranges of the West where they were developed. They're a dual-purpose sheep with good meat type and a heavy fleece of high-quality wool. Read more about Targhee Sheep here.
14. Polypay Sheep
The Polypay Sheep breed is also a dual-purpose breed (meat and wool). The breed was developed in the 1960s at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho. They are a product out of frustration in needing more productive sheep to make a profit and dream to develop sheep which would produce two lamb crops and one wool crop per year. Read more about Polypay Sheep here.
The Finnsheep or known as Finnish Landrace in Finland. The Finnsheep has a friendly disposition and has a higher tolerance to heat and cold than most domestic breeds. Though not a sheep but it produces a lean, succulent meat with a light, delicate flavor that is perfect for any holiday celebration. Read more about Finnsheep here.
16. Dorper Sheep
The Dorper Sheep was developed in the 1930s in South Africa. They are cross breeding of the Blackhead Persian ewes with a Dorset Horn ram. Dorpers were excellent in producing quality carcass under extensive conditions and have the reputation of fast weight gain, high-quality carcass conformation, and fantastic fat distribution. Read more about Dorper Sheep here.
17. Texel Sheep
The Texel Sheep is a domestic from the island of Texel in the Netherlands. They're a heavily muscled sheep that is known to produce a lean meat carcass and now a popular lean meat sheep in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, and Europe. Read more about Texel Sheep here.
18. Barbados Black Belly
The Barbados Blackbelly is an ingenious breed of domestic sheep from the Caribbean island of Barbados. They're not so docile and also not so much easy for handling. They are very active and lively that the raisers should know how to control them. They have excellent meat flavor that is much milder than in our usual market lambs. Read more about Barbados Black Belly sheep here.
19. Border Leicester Sheep
The Border Leicester is a long-wool breed of sheep originating in England. Though large in size and hefty, they are considered docile. They're raised essentially for meat production. Read more about Border Leicester Sheep here.
20. Jacob Sheep
The Jacob Sheep is an uncommon breed of small with white colored spots and multi-horned sheep. Though raised for their meat, wool, and hides they can also be kept as pets and ornamental animals. Read more about Jacob Sheep here.
21. Romney Sheep
The Romney Sheep or formerly known as Romney Marsh is another breed of sheep originating from England. Romney sheep is also a dual-purpose livestock that economically important to sheep meat and wool export trades. Read more about Romney Sheep here.
23. Cotswold Sheep
Cotswold sheep are a breed of domestic sheep originally from Cotswold hills of the southern midlands of England. Cotswold sheep are usually calm and friendly. It is also a dual-purpose breed producing both meat and wool. Read more about Cotswold Sheep here.
See Also : How to Trim Hooves of Goats and Sheep
23. Shetland Sheep
The Shetland sheep is a small, wool-producing breed of sheep originally from Shetland Isles, but is now also kept in other parts of the world. They are classified as a landrace or “unimproved” breed. Shetland sheep is prized for its very fine wool, meat, and conservation grazing. Read more about Shetland sheep here.
24. Katahdin Sheep
The Katahdin is a breed of domestic hair sheep developed in Maine, USA and named after Mount Katahdin. The Katahdin is valued for low wool prices and high shearing costs combined with the fact that they're are resistant to parasites. Read more about Katahdin Sheep here.
25. Icelandic Sheep
The Icelandic sheep is a domestic sheep and one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep. The Icelandic sheep's fleece is double-coated that comes in white as well as a mixture of other colors, including a range of browns, grays, and blacks. Read more about Icelandic Sheep here.
Wants to see a Poll Dorset Sheep and learn more about them? Check this video from Jody Martin:
Does this make you want to have your own flock of sheep? Let us know below in the comments!