Breeds of Sheep

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Breeds of Sheep
Methods to Classify Sheep…
The most common
way to classify
sheep in the United
States is by the
type of wool
produced. There
are over 40 breeds
of sheep in the US
today
Fine Wool
Medium
Wool
Cross
Wool
Merino
Cheviot
Columbia
Rambouillet
Dorset
Polypay
Finnsheep
Hampshire
Southdown
__________
Suffolk
Sheep Body Parts
MEAT BREEDS
These breeds of sheep are produced
for their carcasses. Their wool is not
very valuable, therefore they are
selected for mainly carcasses. Usually
the Medium Wool breeds.
Accounts for about 15% of the
world’s sheep population
Cheviot
 Originated in
Scotland
 Resistant to cold,
windy conditions
 White, wool free
faces
 Long wool type
 Wool has a helical
crimp
 Tend to be resistant
to worms and
footrot
Dorset
 Originated in Europe
 Medium-sized breed
with high quality,
white wool
 Most popular whitefaced breed in the
United States
 Horned and polled
varieties exist
Hampshire
 Originated in
Hampshire,
England
 Black face and legs
 Mild demeanor
 Unbroken wool cap
should extend from
the neck over the
forehead
Southdown
 Developed in England
one of the oldest sheep
breeds
 Medium to small sized
with light brown face and
legs
 Farm flock breed used to
produce meaty, light
weight carcass
 Low maintenance breed
with average prolificacy
and milk production
Suffolk
 Originated in England,
very old breed used as a
sire breed in commercial
production
 Most popular breed in
the US today
 Produce large amounts
of meat, heavy milking
but poor fleece
 Grow fast, produce lean
muscular carcasses
 White with black faces
and legs, free of wool
on legs and head
Account for more than 50% of
the world’s sheep
Merino
 Originated in
Australia
 Very fine fleece,
produce 20 lbs. of
wool a year.
 White-faced
 High quality wool
used in the textile
industry
 Most dominant breed
in the sheep industry
Rambouillet
 Originated in Spain
 #1 range ewe’s in
Texas
 Dual-purpose breed,
fine fleece also
acceptable growth
and carcass traits
 White in color
Columbia
 1st breed developed in
U.S. in 1912

Lincoln x Rambouillet
crossesDual-Purpose,
 Produce medium wool
and large amounts of
meat
 Produce 10-16 lbs. of
3/8 blood wool.
(coarser than
Rambouillet)
 Developed to thrive on
Western ranges
 White faced, polled
breed
 One of the largestsized breeds in US.
Targhee
 Developed in 1926 at
the U.S. Sheep
Experiment Station in
Dubois, Idaho
 Planned breed,
developed for range
use in West
 White-faced, polled
breed of intermediate
size
 Fleeces are mid-way
between Rambouillets
and Columbias in
fineness
Polypay
 Developed by U.S.
Experiment Station
 Five goals of Polypay
1. High lifetime
prolificacy
2. Good lamb crop at 1
yr.
3. Ability to lamb more
than once a year
4. Good growth rate of
lambs
5. Good carcass quality
Lincoln
 Originated in England,
heavy fleeced.
Imported 1825
 Heaviest breed in the
world, rams weight
250-350 lbs. ewes,
225-250 lbs.
 White faced and
polled, face, legs and
ears covered in wool
 Pronounced forelock
between the ears
About 10% of the world’s sheep
population.
Dorper
 The Dorper breed was
developed out of necessity
 Dorset Horn rams crossed
with Blackhead Persian ewes
 The Dorper has a white body
with a black head, while the
White Dorper is all
white. Otherwise two types
are identical but considered
separate breeds
 Typically hornless
 Mature male wight 230 lbs,
female180-210 lbs.
References:
 Sheep 101 (website)
 Sheep 201 (website)
 American Sheep Industry Assoc
 http://www.sheepusa.org/Meat_Breeds
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