Sheep are one of the earliest animals to be domesticated. Sheep are raised for fleece, meat and milk. There are
a little over 1 billion domestic sheep in the world. Through the years scores of breeds were developed. Here’s a
list of the most peculiar breeds ever developed. Some of these make good pets.
This breed is certainly a unique sheep. The multi-horned and good-looking Jacob Sheep is a grown for its wool,
meat and hides. It makes good pet as well. It is considered threatened because there are only fewer than 1,000
annual registrations in the US and estimated fewer than 5,000 global populations. Some of these breeds make
The large and heavy Dreadlocked or Wensleydale Sheep of Wensleydale of North Yorkshire has a blue-grey
face. It is one of the largest and heaviest of all sheep breeds. It also has long, ringlet-like locks of wool. It is
categorized as “at risk” as it has fewer than 1500 registered breeding females. It is predominantly used today
as a ram breed to cross with other breeds to obtain market lambs and for its high-quality wool.
The weird-looking Manx Loaghtan of Isle of Man is characterized by dark brown wool and usually having four or
occasionally six horns like the Jacob Sheep. The Manx Loaghtan is descended from the primitive sheep once
found throughout. It is categorized as “at risk” as there are less than 1500 registered breeding females in the
The weird-looking Greyface Dartmoor with long and curly hair is a breed of domestic sheep that originates in the
Dartmoor region of the United Kingdom.
The large and handsome Rambouillet with unique twisted horns is also known as the Rambouillet Merino or the
French Merino. The breed is well known for its wool, but also for its meat, both lamb and mutton. The size of a
full grown ewe weighs up to two hundred lbs and rams up to 300 lbs, live weight. The fleece was valuable in the
manufacture of cloth, at times being woven in a mixed fabric of cotton warp and wool weft, known as delaines.
The unique Karakul of Central Asia has been continuously raised in the said region since 1400 BCE. It is
renowned for its ability to forage and thrive under extremely harsh living conditions. Karakul Sheep is a breed
kept for milking, its distinctive meat, pelts and wool. Many adult Karakul Sheep are double-coated; in this case,
people separate the coarse guard hair from the undercoat. Karakul is relatively coarse fiber used for outer
garment, carpets and for felting.
Very young or even fetal Karakul lambs are prized for pelts. Newborn karakul sheep’s pelts are called karakul.
The newborn lambs have a tight, curly pattern of hair. The lambs must be under three days old when they are
killed, or they will lose their black color and soft, tightly worn coils of fur.
The impressively good-looking Merino with long spiral horns is an economically influential breed of sheep prized
for its wool. Merinos are regarded as having the finest and softest wool of any sheep. Recently the low price of
wool has led to more emphasis on the market and sale of the animal’s meat.
Rouge de l’Ouest
Yellow sheep? The Rouge de l’Ouest which means “Red of the West” refers to its region of origin and its unique
pinkish face and legs. It was originally a dairy sheep breed used to produce Camembert cheese, but is now
primarily raised for meat. Particularly, Rouge rams are used as sires for market lambs. It has medium length wool,
a polled head, and a well-muscled body.
The very hardy and unique-looking Norfolk Horn that looks like wearing black socks and wearing a black mask is
also known as Blackface Norfolk Horned, Norfolk Horned, Old Norfolk or Old Norfolk Horned. This breed almost
vanished in 1919 and 1950 but was revived Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
The Racka of Hungary is known for its unusual spiral-shaped horns. These unique appendages are unlike any
other domestic sheep horns, and may grow up to two feet long. The smallest standard length is 20 inches or 50
cm for rams and 12-15 inches or 30 cm for ewes. Ewes weigh around 88 lbs (40 kgs), and ram 132 lbs (60 kg).
Bleu de Maine
The large and prolific Bleu du Maine of France most distinctive characteristic is its bald, gray-blue head which is
polled in both sexes. More common in France and the Netherlands, it has also been exported to the UK, where it
is sometimes used for the creation of cross-bred mules.
The rugged-looking North Ronaldsay Sheep of Scotland is notable for living almost entirely on seaweed for
several months of the year. A small number have been exported as an exotic breed. It has been found that
the sheep’s digestive system can readjust to a non-seaweed-based diet within two generations.
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