The Navajo-Churro sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from United States. It is also called by some other names such as American or Navajo Four-Horned or just Churro for short. It was originated with the Spanish Churra Sheep obtained by Navajo, Hopi and other Native American nations around the 16th century during the Spanish Conquest. The breed was actually developed from a cross between the Jacob and the Churra sheep.
During the 16th century the Churra sheep was first imported to North America, and used to feed Spanish armies and settlers. And the Churros became popular with the Spanish settlers in the upper Rio Grande Valley by the seventeenth century. And through trading, some flocks of Churros were also acquired by the Navajo.
During that time the Churro soon became a very important part of the Navajo economy and culture. However, total number of the Navajo-Churro sheep is very less today and considered as a rare breed, but it is no longer in danger of extinction. Read some more information about this breed below.
Navajo-Churro Sheep Characteristics
Navajo-Churro sheep are a medium sized animal with a narrow body and light bones. They are found in several colors. Their main color includes blue, brown, black, red, silver, spotted and white. They can also appear in different patterns, with badger face pattern are common. They have long legs, and both rams and ewes are usually horned. They may have two or four horns. And the rams can have 2, 4, 6 or even more horns.
This is because they possess the polycerate gene, which is also found in old heritage sheep breeds like the Jacob Sheep. They also have the ability to have fused horns. They have a double coated fleece that weights 4-6 lbs. The fine, soft inner coat provides insulation, and the long, coarse outer coat protects the inner coat from dust and dirt while repelling rain and snow. The fleece is low in grease, which makes it easy to process.
Average live body weight of the mature Navajo-Churro rams is between 72 and 90 kg. And average live body weight of the mature ewes vary from 45 to 54 kg. Photo and info from The Livestock Conservancy and Wikipedia.
Navajo-Churro sheep are dual-purpose animals. They are raised for both meat and wool production.
The Navajo-Churro sheep are very hardy and active animals. They are relatively docile in terms of temperament, and some say they are also very personable. They are well adapted to the adverse conditions found in hot, dry deserts and sub-zero climates. They are noted for their prolificacy. The ewes are excellent mothers, and the lambs are easily born and vigorous. These animals are also noted for their low-maintenance reputation, resistance to diseases and also for lean meat. However, review full breed profile of the Navajo-Churro sheep in the following chart.
Navajo-Churro Sheep | Breed Profile
|Other Name||Also called by some other names such as American or Navajo Four-Horned or just Churro for short|
|Breed Purpose||Meat and wool|
|Special Notes||Very hardy and strong animals, well adapted to extremes of climate, docile, very personable, noted for their prolificacy, the ewes are excellent mothers, lambs are easily born and vigorous, noted for their low maintenance reputation, resistance to diseases, produce lean meat|
|Weight||Ewes weight between 45 and 54 kg, and mature ram’s weight vary from 72 to 90 kg|
|Climate Tolerance||Native climates|
|Color||Many, but the common colors are blue, black, brown, red, silver, spotted and white|
|Country/Place of Origin||United States|