Derbyshire Gritstone Sheep Characteristics, Uses

The Derbyshire Gritstone sheep is a breed of domestic sheep originated from United Kingdom. It is a very old breed, and is one of the oldest British sheep breeds.

Today the breed is usually found around Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. The breed was actually originated from the hills of the Dale of Goyt on the edge of the Peak District around the 1770s.

The Dale of Goyt is now better known as the Goyt Valley. The Derbyshire Gritstone sheep was known as the Dale O’Goyt sheep in it’s early years.

The farmers in the locality were establishing uniformly in the breed by 1850, aiming at a hardy and disease resistant animal that could withstand the harsh winters on poor ground, produce a lively lamb, which grew well to produce a good carcass and a seleable wool crop.

For forming the Derbyshire Gritstone Sheepbreeders Society, 27 farmers came together on the 15th October 1906. The society was formed under the presidency of the 8th Duke of Devonshire.

Today the Derbyshire Gritstone sheep are raised primarily for meat production. Read some more information about this British sheep breed below.

Derbyshire Gritstone Sheep Characteristics

The Derbyshire Gritstone sheep are large sized animals. They are usually white in coloration with black and white faces. Both rams and ewes are generally polled.

Fleece of these animals is of very fine quality than most other hill sheep breeds. They are long bodied animals with well placed and broad shoulders.

Their body is generally well covered with flesh and wool. Legs of the Derbyshire Gritstone sheep can be black and white.

The front legs appear with black knees and hooves, and the back legs with black markings down the back of the leg and black hooves. Their face has a combination of clear black and white markings.

Their head is usually clear of wool and fairly long. The rams are thicker set and musculine, white the ewes should have a feminine appearance.

Average live body weight of the mature Derbyshire Gritstone ewes is between 55 and 65 kg. And average live body weight of the mature rams vary from 80 to 100 kg. Photo and info from RBST and Wikipedia.


The Derbyshire Gritstone sheep is a meat sheep breed. It is raised mainly for meat production.

Special Notes

The Derbyshire Gritstone sheep is a very hardy and strong animal. It has the qualities and potential to increase the agricultural productivity of the bleak upland areas of the north Country and of Wales.

These animals are generally strong and resistant to diseases, and they are the most economical sheep on high ground. The breed has a finer fleece than most other hill sheep breeds. But today they are raised mainly for meat production.

Meat of the Derbyshire Gritstone sheep is clean and lean. The lambs grow relatively faster, and they reach marketing weight within their 68 to 104 days of age.

They reach around 40.35 kg live weight within this period. However, review full breed profile of this breed in the following chart.

Breed NameDerbyshire Gritstone
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeMainly meat
Special NotesVery beautiful animals, striking appearance, especially well adapted to their local environments, very strong and hardy, resistant to diseases, most economical sheep on high ground, finer fleece quality than most other hill sheep breeds, lambs grow relatively faster, today raised mainly for meat production
Breed SizeLarge
WeightMature rams body weight is between 80 and 100 kg, and average live body weight of the mature ewes vary from 55 to 65 kg
Climate ToleranceLocal climates
Country/Place of OriginUnited Kingdom

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