Rambouillet Sheep Characteristics, Origin & Uses

The Rambouillet sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from France. It is also known as the French Merino and the Rambouillet Merino. In the year of 1786, development of this breed started when Louis XVI purchased over 300 Spanish Merinos.

Louis XVI purchased 7 wethers, 41 rams and 318 ewes from his cousin King Charles III of Spain. And the flock was subsequently developed on an experimental royal farm, now Bergerie Nationale.

The Bergerie royale was built during the region of Louis XVI, at his request, on his domain of Rambouillet.

The Rambouillet is 50 km southwest of Paris. The flock at the royal farm was raised continuously, with no sheep being sold for several years, well into the 19th century.

A well-defined breed was developed from the outcrossing with English long-wool sheep breeds and selection which was different in several important points from the original Spanish Merino sheep.

However, the Rambouillet Association was formed in the United States in 1889, with the aim of preserving the breed. An estimated 50 percent of the sheep population on the western United States ranges are of Rambouillet blood.

Today the Rambouillet sheep are raised for both meat and wool production. Read some more information about this breed below.

Rambouillet Sheep Characteristics

Rambouillet sheep are large sized animals with beautiful appearance. Both rams and ewes are horned, but the rams have large curved horns.

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As a large sized animal, average live mature body weight of the Rambouillet rams is between 113 and 135 kg. And average live body weight of the mature ewes vary from 68 to 90 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The Rambouillet sheep are dual-purpose animals. They are raised for both meat and wool production.

Special Notes

The Rambouillet sheep are very strong and hardy animals. They are well suited to almost all climates. They are actually a dual-purpose animal, and raised for both meat and wool production.

They are well known and noted for their superior wool and near-mutton breed characteristics. Fleece of these animals was valuable in the manufacture of cloth, at times being woven in a mixed fabric of cotton warp and wool weft, known as Delaine Merino.

The Rambouillet sheep breed was also used for the development of the “Barbado” or American Blackbelly sheep, which was crossed with Barbados Blackbelly and Mouflon for their horns at hunting ranches.

Mature animals usually produce 3.6 to 8.1 kg fleece with an yield of 35 to 55 percent. Their fleece staple length will vary from 2-4 inches, and range in fiber diameter from 18.5 to 24.5 microns or 60 to 80 for the numerical count. However, review full breed profile of the Rambouillet sheep in the following chart.

Breed NameRambouillet
Other NameAlso known as the French Merino and the Rambouillet Merino sheep
Breed PurposeMeat, wool
Special NotesVery hardy and strong animals, kept for both meat and wool production, well suited to almost all climates, well known for their superior wool and near-mutton breed characteristics
Breed SizeLarge
WeightRams weight between 113 and 135 kg, and the ewe’s weight vary from 68 to 90 kg
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorCan vary
Country/Place of OriginFrance

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