Rya Sheep

The Rya sheep is a breed of sheep from Sweden. It is also known by some other names such as Swedish Carpet Wool Sheep or Ryafår. It was actually originated from the Norwegian and Swedish sheep breeds.

The breed also contains some Norwegian Spælsau heritage. Using the long, wavy and shiny wool to produce rya-wool was the main purpose of this sheep breed.

The rya-wool is often used for making carpets. Few long wool sheep breeds remained in the province of Dalarna, leading to the restoration of this sheep breed in the early 20th century. And there was a stable population of about 2000 Rya sheep in 2000.

Currently most of the population of this breed can be found in the northern and central Sweden, and most of the herds are located in Dalarna.

Dalarna had a population of sheep with long wool at the start of the twentieth century, which was popular in the area to decorate national customers.

Breeding was done for obtaining sheep that produce the rya-wool in 1915. Read some more information about this breed below.

Rya Sheep Characteristics

The Rya sheep is a medium sized animal. They are generally white in color, but black, brown and gray animals are also found in the breed. They have relatively short legs, and have strong and shiny long wool fibers.

The legs, tail, cheek, forehead and crown do not have wool. The wool can be about 6 inches long for a 3 month old lamb. And the wool can be up to 12 inches long for an adult Rya sheep.

Half the fleece should be the hair coat, which should be lustrous with a well-defined, broad crimp. Both rams and ewes are usually polled and have long tails.

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Average wither height of the adult rams is about 75 cm, and around 70 cm for the ewes.

As a medium sized animal, average live body weight of the mature Rya rams is about 70 kg. And the mature ewes on average weight around 50 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


Rya sheep is a wool sheep breed. It is raised mainly for the production of wool.

Special Notes

The Rya sheep are very hardy and strong animals. They have the ability to forage in rough terrain. The ewes are noted for easy lambing, and also well known for being highly fertile.

The mean litter size is 2.1 lambs at birth. These animals are usually kept in small flocks, and most of the herds are located in Dalarna.

However, review full Breed profile of the Rya sheep in the following chart.

Breed NameRya
Other NameAlso known by some other names such as Swedish Carpet Wool Sheep or Ryafår
Breed PurposeMainly wool
Special NotesVery hardy and strong animals, well adapted to local climates, have the ability to forage in rough terrain, the ewes are noted for easy lambing, the ewes are also known for being highly fertile, litter size is 2.1 lambs at birth, raised in small flocks
Breed SizeMedium
Weight50-70 kg
Climate ToleranceNative climates
ColorMainly white, but black, brown and gray animals are also found
Country/Place of OriginSweden

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