The Ouessant sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from France. It was actually developed from the island of Ouessant off the coast of Brittany. And these animals were kept on the island until the mid 1900’s. It is known by some other names such as Ushant, Breton Island Dwarf and Mouton d’Ouessant.
It is one of the smallest breeds of domestic sheep in the world. And the Ouessant sheep is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds, together with several other types from Great Britain, Germany and Scandinavia. Today the breed is being raised in a number of European countries including France, Germany and United Kingdom.
According to the Ouessant Sheep Society of Great Britain, “The exceptionally small size of the Ouessant is attributed to the poor grazing on the island, which led to the selection of small sheep for breeding. The breed almost disappeared and was saved from extinction by a group of Aristocrats, who allowed the sheep to graze on the land surrounding their chateaux.
Today, the Ouessant sheep are a pretty rare breed, and they are being bred in a number of European countries. However, read some more information about this breed below.
Ouessant Sheep Characteristics
Ouessant sheep are very small sized animal. They are one of the smallest breeds of domestic sheep in the world. Average body height of the mature ewes is around 18 inches at the shoulder. And the mature rams stand around 19 inches tall at the shoulder. Most of the animals are dark brown or black in color. But sometimes white animals do also occur.
The ewes are polled, while the rams are horned. And the rams have relatively large horns as compared to their body. Photo and info from RightPet and Wikipedia.
The Ouessant sheep are used for wool. They are also raised as a hobby or as pets.
The Ouessant sheep are strong and hardy animals. They rely on staying together as a flock for protecting themselves from predators. As they are prey animals, so they are highly sensitive to predators. They can sense the presence of threat from several hundred feet away. These animals are not among the highly prolific breeds, and the ewes rarely produce twins. They are mainly raised for wool production, but the city government in Paris recently began using a small herd of Ouessant sheep for grazing public lands. However, review full breed profile of the Ouessant sheep in the following chart.
Ouessant Sheep | Breed Profile
|Other Name||Also known by some other names such as Ushant, Breton Island Dwarf and Mouton d’Ouessant|
|Breed Purpose||Wool, hobby|
|Special Notes||Strong and hardy, rely on staying together as a flock for protecting themselves from predators, highly sensitive to predators, they can sense the presence of threat from several hundred feet away, ewes rarely produce twins, mainly raised for wool production, also good for raising as pets|
|Horns||Rams are horned, but the ewes are usually polled|
|Climate Tolerance||Native climates|
|Color||Dark brown or black|
|Country/Place of Origin||France|