lowland sheep breeds
Geography: Blue Texels are primarily found in Holland and the UK. History: The breed has been bred for generations to thrive in the areas surrounding the Black Mountain of Carmarthenshire, with Llandovery Market being renowned for its autumn sales of breeding females. Geography: The original flock was developed in North Yorkshire, where the Meatlinc company is still based to supervise a small number of breeding flocks that supply stock to farms throughout the UK. There are exceptions in every case, but the main two categories are Hill sheep and Lowland sheep. Commercial desirability: The Eppynt Hill & Beulah Speckled Face Society promotes the breed as an ideal cross for terminal sire breeds to produce lambs of good carcase quality, and says there is considerable demand for older Beulah females (draft ewes) to continue their productive live on lowland pastures. Both males and females always have horns, but these can be two or four in number. Counting sheep need not be as monotonous an activity as the old adage about it curing insomnia would suggest. They have a distinctive and alert white face, plus white legs and a reasonably long white fleece. Males have spiralled horns and ewes are polled (hornless). It is more important than its fellow countryman, the Dorset Down, chiefly because of its capacity to produce lambs at any season. While many terminal sire breeds have been imported into the UK from the continent, this was one of the first hill breeds. It is a horned breed with several distinct types, the most prominent being the Scottish Blackface which is further spilt into three subdivisions of Perth, Lanark and Northumberland. Geography: A primitive breed developed in Dumfrieshire, Scotland. It has a naturally short tail and usually sheds its fleece in summer. Commercial desirability: The Eppynt Hardy Speckled Face Sheep Society promotes the breed as hardy and long-lived with good mothering ability. History: The Swaledale is thought to have originated in the UK in the 12th century and is from the same genetic umbrella as other horned sheep, such as the Blackface and Rough Fell. Sheep are large framed, polled and well-muscled. History: Claimed to be one of the UK’s oldest breeds, the Whiteface Dartmoor as we would recognise it today descended from the heath sheep of South West England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Geography: Following its early concentration in Northern England, the Bluefaced Leicester is now a popular crossing sired throughout the UK. More information on the Manx Loaghtan Sheep Breeders Group website. History: The breed was developed in the mid-1800s by crossing the Wiltshire Horn and Berkshire Knot with the Southdown. These sheep are usually black, brown or dark grey in appearance with a white stripe from the top of the head to the nose, a white tail and four white socks. Commercial desirability: The Lleyn Sheep Society promotes the breed as low maintenance, low disease risk and efficient, with the ability to thrive on upland and lowland grazing. Geography: While continuing to be popular in France, Charmoise Hill sheep are found in pockets around the UK with increased prevalence in Wales. More information on the Soay & Boreray Sheep Society website. Commercial desirability: The Meatlinc company avoids calling itself a breed society and, focused on performance rather than appearance, does not permit stock to appear in show rings. Geography: The Ryeland is found is many lowland areas of the UK, finding huge popularity with smallholders in more recent years. The rams were used as studs to improve other flocks in Britain, and many other down sheep owe their development to the infusion of South-down blood. Breed attributes: The breed originated in an upland/heathland environment and is known predominantly a dairy ewe, offering prolificacy and high milk production. History: Shetlands are small, fine-boned sheep belonging to the Northern Short-tailed group. Breed attributes: A lowland breed but with the ability to also thrive on more extreme terrain in high rainfall areas. The Castlemilk Moorit should be well balanced and agile. Ideally she should have an all black body and black head with a white blaze from the top of the head to the nose, two white socks on the rear legs and a white tip to her tail. It is renowned for its double-muscled hindquarters, which makes it appear ‘wedge-shaped’ with narrow shoulders becoming wider towards the back of the sheep. The Rough Fell Sheep Breeders Association was established in 1926. More information on the Castlemilk Moorit Sheep Society website. The face is white or white with tan markings and the males are usually horned. The shifting is for stratification with lowland breed (Daetwyler et al. Breed attributes: Cambridge sheep have been selectively bred for prolificacy and milk production in the females, plus growth and carcase traits in their offspring. Commercial desirability: The Cheviot Sheep Society promotes the breed as able to live off the hill all year round while being able to product quality lambs for the food chain. History: As the name suggests, the Scotch Mule is a crossbred breed sheep. How to tell a Blackface from a Cheviot, for instance. Wensleydales are also crossed with the hill breeds to produce the Masham. More information on the Cheviot Sheep Society website. Commercial desirability: The Dorset Down Sheep Breeders Association promotes the breed as producing prime lambs that are born easily with little trouble to their mothers, while rams are unusual in being able to work at all times of the year. Commercial desirability: The Castlemilk Moorit Sheep Society promotes the breed for its ability to graze rough ground, delicious tasting meat and its fine fleece. There is no website for the Llandovery Whiteface Hill Sheep Society. Appearance: A medium-sized, sturdy breed, the Norfolk Horn has a black face and legs and white fleece. Breed attributes: Bleu du Maines are large sheep that combine maternal and terminal sire traits of prolificacy, easy lambing ability, milkiness and improved conformation. The fleece is white and males can be horned. It has also been developed to easy lambing. History: The breed originates from the Cher region of Central France and was improved by the Merino in the 1780s and the British Dishley Leicester in the 1800s. NSA complies fully with the General data protection Regulation (GDPR). Breed attributes: A terminal sire breed with fine bones to produce a good meat-to-bone- ratio in lambs for the food chain. The breed society for all three types was established in 1945. History: This primitive breed is descended from the multi-horn North European sheep, established in the UK many centuries ago. When crossed with a suitable terminal sire the heavier, faster maturing lamb is readily acceptable at markets. More information on the Border Leicester Sheep Breeders Society website. More information on the Welsh Hill Speckled Face Sheep Society website. Geography: The breed remains local to its origins in Upper Wharfdale in the Pennines, across Lancashire and Yorkshire. The Romney Marsh sheep remains a native of the region that gives it its name — the bleak, low-lying area in the south-west corner of Kent that is made up of clay and sand and scattered with inlets from the sea. History: Taking its full name from the Eppynt hills, the Beulah Speckled Face was bred on the hills of Eppynt, Llanafan, Abergwesyn and Llanwrtyd Wells for more than 100 years with no introduction of any other female genetics. More information on the British Milksheep Society website. The Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders Association was established in 1963. It made its mark in the UK as a crossing sire on native UK breeds, but Texel Mule and Texel cross females are increasingly popular as breeding females. The Lincoln sheep looks like the Leicester but grows longer wool. The Sheep Improved Genetics group developed the Exlana composite from 14 breeds of sheep around the world, based on breeding objectives around easier management. Geography: The breed originated in the hills and mountains of Wales. Breed attributes: The ability to shed its own wool is the main characteristic of this breed, which thrives in the lowlands but can also be kept on more extreme terrain in most weather conditions. History: This primitive breed has uncertain origins as far back as the Iron Age, but is known to have grazing upland areas of the Isle of Man for more than 1,000 years. The Whiteface Dartmoor Sheep Breeders Association was established in 1950 and, in line with its status as a rare breed, works to preserve genetics for the future. Commercial desirability: The Charmoise Hill Sheep Society promotes the breed as being versatile, able to lamb out of season and good at retaining body condition in harsh environments. More information on the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders Association website. The flock book was incorporated into the Soay & Boreray Sheep Society in 2003. Commercial desirability: The Talybont Welsh Sheep Society promotes the breed for its maternal qualities when crossed and terminal sire qualities when kept pure, with lambs being heavier than other types of purebred Welsh mountain sheep. The breed is now found in a number of mostly small flocks throughout the UK. History: The Masham is a crossbred sheep so the mother is always a Dalesbred and the father is always a Teeswater. Commercial desirability: The Brecknock Hill Cheviot Sheep Society promotes the rams as a crossing sire to improve the size and wool quality of native mountain breeds, while ewes make excellent breeding replacements. History: The Dorset Down was developed in the 1800s as a result of crossbreeding Wiltshire, Berkshire and Hampshire ewes with Southdown rams. Breed attributes: The Lleyn is desirable for its combination of low maintenance and prolificacy, meaning hard working mothers will easily rear two lambs at a time. A breed society was formed in 1985 following an increase in numbers after the breed was almost wiped out by the harsh winter of 1946-47. Geography: Welsh Mules are found throughout Wales and the UK. It has white, demi-lustrous wool on its body, but none on its face or legs. Breed attributes: As a commercial terminal sire breed, the Blue Texel crosses well with all types of females and, as the blue colouring is a recessive gene, most crossbred offspring will be white. Geography: Found in North and South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, numbers are relatively small in the UK. Breed attributes: Badger Face Welsh Mountain sheep are very hardy so can survive in harsh conditions. Appearance: With a proud stance and upright ears, the Kerry Hill is distinctive for the sharply defined black markings around the nose and eyes of its white face. The Swaledale breed was developed here and in what was then Westmorland but became Cumbria. It is a lowland, terminal sire breed used to produce lambs with increased meat yield. The combination is thought to have been developed in the mid-20th century but was recognised as a breed in the 1980s, with the Scotch Mule Association established in 1986. More information on the Dorset Down Sheep Breeders Association website. The breed society was formed in 1958 to continue work improving the breed. Two white socks on the front legs are also very desirable. As a breed, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are generally healthy. She is a tall, long-bodied sheep which always carries her head up high, with alert ears. Both males and females are without horns. Geography: From its origins as a parkland breed, the Jacob is now found all over the UK. Appearance: Hampshire Downs have a rich, dark brown/black face and ears with white wool covering the body and stretching up onto the head. Subsequent rams were nowhere near so agressive. One of the oldest and most famous breeds of down sheep is the Southdown, which is still found throughout the grass-covered chalk hills running along the coasts of Sussex and Kent. The breed society was established in 1891. This specific cross was developed in the 20th century and the Masham Sheep Breeders Association established in 1986. History: The breed was developed in the 19th century by crossing various local breeds in the Shropshire and North Staffordshire area, including the small, black-faced Long Mynd and the sheep of Morfe Common. Appearance: A medium-sized, fine-boned sheep with a black head that sometimes has a small white patch on top. History: The breed was created in South Africa in 1942 by crossing Dorset Horn rams with Persian Blackheaded ewes. History: The Wiltshire Horn is thought to be descended from the original sheep brought over in the Roman invasion of the UK. They originate from a short-tailed breed originating in Northern Europe from prehistoric times, but it is unclear how they ended up on the island of Soay in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It is recognised as a rare breed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Description Appearance. Popularly has also been seen in South Wales. It is now known that many breeds around the world carry the badger face gene. Commercial desirability: The Welsh Mountain Sheep Society (Hill Flock Section) promotes the versatility and survivability of the breed, saying it is unrivalled in its natural environment which includes some of the most difficult areas in Wales. Traits include ewes that are prolific and easy lambing, rearing fast-growing lambs. Breed attributes: The breed has a slightly shorter gestation period than other sheep, and the unusual ability to breed out of season, so females can produce three crops of lambs in two years. Both sexes are polled (without horns). Purebred Berrichon females are unusual in being able to product lambs all year round. History: The breed was developed in the Welsh hills in the 13th century, being particularly prevalent in the hills of Glamorgan, Monmouthshire, Carmarthenshire and South Powys. © 2020 The Self-Sufficiency DIY Info Zone. Commercial desirability: The Ryeland Flock Book Society promotes the breed as docile and amenable with a ready market amongst native breed butchers for quality meat and hand spinners and weavers for textured wool. Appearance: These sheep are small, completely black in appearance and have no wool on their face or legs. There’s no shortage of sheep to count, either: 33 million or so across Britain, which is a quarter of the EU flock and 3% globally. It is a large but docile breed that is well suited to the mountainous regions it originates from. The Suffolk Sheep Society represents flocks throughout Europe and has seen the breed become know around the world, including in the USA, New Zealand and Australia. More information on the Whiteface Dartmoor Sheep Breeders Association website. More information on the British Gotland Sheep Society website. National Sheep Association is an organisation which represents the views and interests of sheep producers throughout the UK. They thrive on rough extensive and conservation grazing. Geography: Shetland sheep continue to thrive on the islands, under the supervision of the Shetland Flock Book Trust since its creation in 1927. Geography: Soay is one of four islands of St Kilda, the most westerly archipelago of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The fleece forms a ‘ruff’ behind the ears and males are sometimes horned. https://www.petfinder.com/dog-breeds/polish-lowland-sheepdog History: Originally introduced to the UK by the Romans, the ‘golden fleece’ of Cotswold sheep was the most important UK export in Medieval times. Wool shedding has meant it was also exported from the UK to hot climates such as Australia and the Caribbean. History: The North Country Cheviot evolved from an animal first taken to Caithness at the top of the Scottish mainland in the 18th century. Breed attributes: Castlemilk Moorits are one of the largest primitive breeds. Appearance: There are two types of Badger Face Welsh Mountain sheep – Torddu and Torwen. These sheep, with their beautiful, elegant faces, have been bred almost exclusively for more than a century on the hills of Eppynt, Llanafan, Abergwesyn and Llanwrtyd Wells in Powys, although the bigger draft ewes are now in demand with lowland farmers to … Geography: The stronghold of the breed is, understandably, in mid-Wales – but it was notably introduced to the USA in 1973 and has a worldwide population of 10,000. The PON is a muscular, thick-coated dog. More information on the Beltex Sheep Society website. The breed can be crossed with the Bluefaced Leicester to produce the Exmoor Mule. Appearance: This compact, agile breed has a black and white face and legs with a white fleece. Animals often have a distinctive white flash above each eye. For more information about NSA breed society affiliation email [email protected]. It is also a popular breed in Belgium, Holland and France as well as Australia and South America where it is used extensively as a terminal sire. The breeds listed here enjoy affiliation to the National Sheep Association. The Derbyshire Gritstone Sheep Breeders Society was established in 1906.