The Gentile di Puglia sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from Italy. It originates from the Tavoliere di Foggia which is a large plain in the northern part of Puglia. Today it is raised and distributed mainly in Puglia and neighboring regions. It is also known by some other names such as Apulian Merino, Improved Apulian, Italian Merino, Merino DI Puglia, Merino d’Italia and Merina Gentile.
The Gentile di Puglia sheep breed was actually developed from cross-breeding local ewes with Merino rams. Those Merino rams were first brought from Spain by Alfonso V of Aragon in the 15th century (and later, repeatedly by the Bourbon kings of Naples who extensive estates near Foggia. There was cross-breeding in the 19th century with imported German Merinolandschaf and French Rambouillet sheep. Aim of the cross-breeding was to further improving the quality of the wool.
A little fall in total number or the Gentile di Puglia sheep caused by the collapse of the wool trade in the later 20th century. And many indiscriminate attempts were made for improving the meat yield by cross breeding with other types. A study of 10000 head found 13 percent to be pure-bred stock in the 1980s.
The Gentile di Puglia sheep breed is one of the 17 autochthonous Italian sheep breeds for which a genealogical herdbook is kept. And the herdbook is kept by the Associazione Nazionale della Pastoriza. Associazione Nazionale della Pastoriza is the Italian national association of sheep-breeders. The herdbook was established in 1971, and total numbers of these animals were estimated at 500000. Among those animals, 31,700 head were registered in the herdbook, and 3582 in 2013. Read some more information about this breed below.
The Gentile di Puglia sheep are medium sized animals with white colored body. The rams usually have horns, but the ewes are hornless. Average body height of the fully grown rams is about 71 cm, and about 62 cm for the ewes. Average live body weight of the mature Gentile di Puglia rams is around 67 kg. And the mature ewes on average weight around 43 kg. Photo and info from ansi.okstate.edu and Wikipedia.
The Gentile di Puglia sheep is a wool sheep breed. It is raised mainly for wool production. But also good for producing meat and milk.
The Gentile di Puglia sheep are strong animals. They are especially well suited to their local climates. The breed is mainly raised for wool production. But along with producing wool, the breed is also good for meat and milk production. Milk yield of these animals is approximately 80-100 liters per lactation, and most of it is taken by the lambs. But their milk is also used in the production of pecorino cheeses such as the Incanestrato Foggiano di Castel Monte. The lambs grow pretty faster, and they are generally slaughtered at 50-60 days when they reach around 12-15 kg. The Gentile di Puglia rams yield about 6 kg of wool, and the ewes about 3.5 kg in a single shearing. And wool of the Gentile di Puglia sheep is of high quality, with a fiber diameter of 18-22 microns. Review full breed profile of the Gentile di Puglia sheep in the following chart.
Gentile di Puglia Sheep | Breed Profile
|Breed Name||Gentile di Puglia|
|Other Name||Also known by some other names such as Apulian Merino, Improved Apulian, Italian Merino, Merino DI Puglia, Merino d’Italia and Merina Gentile|
|Breed Purpose||Mainly wool|
|Special Notes||Very hardy animals, especially well adapted to local climates, today raised mainly for wool production, also good for meat and milk production, milk is often used in the production of pecorino cheeses, lambs grow pretty faster, wool is of high quality|
|Weight||Mature rams body weight is around 67 kg, and mature ewe’s body weight is around 43 kg|
|Horns||Rams have horns, but the ewes are polled|
|Climate Tolerance||Native climates|
|Country/Place of Origin||Italy|