The English Leicester sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from United Kingdom. It was actually developed by eighteenth century breeding innovator Robert Bakewell.
It is also called by some other names such as Bakewell Leicester, New Leicester, Dishley Leicester, Leicester Longwool, Improved Leicester and simply as Leicester.
Today the breed is very rare, and one of Britain’s rarest sheep breeds. It is categorized as ‘endangered’ by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
And today fewer than 500 registered breeding ewes available in the United Kingdom. The English Leicester sheep is not among the very old sheep breeds. It date back to the 1700s, and were found in the Midland of England.
The breed was pretty slow-growing and closely boned after it’s developed. But now it has been developed to gain weight quickly and grow very fast.
It is one of the fist pure sheep breeds introduced to Australia and it was introduced there in 1826.
The breed has been used for improving may other sheep breeds, mainly because of it’s meaty carcass and heavy fleece. Read some more information about the English Leicester sheep below.
English Leicester Sheep Characteristics
The English Leicester sheep are large animals. Their head should be carried well, not too high and should have no signs of horns on their forehead.
Face of these animals is usually of a wedge shape, which is covered in white hairs and can appear to have a blue tinge.
Their lips and nostrils should be black. Their neck is of medium length and the shoulders should be strong and level with the back which should be flat.
Legs of these animals should be straight and wide apart and the hooves should be black. Photo and info from Wikipedia.
This is a meat sheep breed. It is raised mainly for meat production.
The English Leicester sheep are alert and robust animals, showing style and character. They are free, active and well balanced while in movement.
They are raised mainly for meat production, but are also good for wool production. Their fleece is dense and lustrous. Usually the fiber diameter for an English Leicester sheep is about 32 to 38 microns.
Currently the breed is found in United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand. However, review full breed profile of this breed in the following chart.
|Breed Name||English Leicester|
|Other Name||Also called by some other names such as Bakewell Leicester, New Leicester, Dishley Leicester, Leicester Longwool, Improved Leicester and simply as Leicester|
|Breed Purpose||Mainly meat|
|Special Notes||Very hardy animals, alert and robust, active, docile temperament, raised mainly for meat production, fleece is dense and lustrous|
|Climate Tolerance||Almost all climates|
|Country/Place of Origin||United Kingdom|