Estonian Ruhnu Sheep

The Estonian Ruhnu sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from Estonia. It was developed and found on the small Estonian island of Ruhnu in the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea.

It is also called Estonian: eesti maalammas. The breed is thought to have developed from the sheep left on Ruhnu by Swedish-speaking inhabitants who settled on the island in the fourteenth century.

Total population of these animals were documented as 300 in 1944. Currently the breed is pretty rare, and total population is around 30 animals.

The Estonian Ruhnu sheep is a dual-purpose animal and it was originally raised for producing both meat and wool. Read more information about this Estonian sheep breed below.

Estonian Ruhnu Sheep Characteristics

The Estonian Ruhnu sheep are medium sized animals. Most of the population of these breed are white or cream colored with grayish head and legs.

And some animals have a distinctive ‘badgerface’ pattern. Most of the rams are polled, and only around 10 percent are horned. And the ewes are polled. Their tail is short or medium in length.

They have double coated wool and of two fiber types and the wool is usually used for making hand knitting yarn and clothing, such as sweaters. The wool color is usually white or cream.

Average live body weight of the Estonian Ruhnu rams is around 80 kg. And average live body weight of the fully grown ewes is around 50 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


These sheep were developed as a dual purpose animals. They are good and used for both meat and wool production.

Special Notes

The Estonian Ruhnu sheep are strong and hardy animals. They are especially well adapted to their local climates.

Physical adaptations of these animals to seaside pastures and small paddocks suggests that these animals have had a rather long period for adapting to their local environment.

As a dual-purpose animal, the Estonian Ruhnu sheep is good for both meat and wool production. Their wool is of good quality. However, review full breed profile of these sheep below.

Breed NameEstonian Ruhnu
Other NameEstonian: eesti maalammas
Breed PurposeDual-purpose. Meat and wool
Special NotesVery hardy and strong animals, active, especially well adapted to their local climates, dual-purpose animals, raised for both wool and meat production
Breed SizeMedium
WeightMature ram’s body weight is around 80 kg, and mature ewe’s body weight is around 50 kg
HornsEwes are always polled, and around 10 percent rams can be horned
Climate ToleranceNative climates
ColorWhite or cream
Country/Place of OriginEstonia

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