Sheep Breeds: Best 207 For Sheep Farming

There are many different types of sheep breeds available throughout the world. All these breeds are not suitable for farming in all places around the world. Some of these breeds are good for cold areas, and some breeds are good for hot areas.

Some breeds are good for meat production, some are good for milk, and some are good for both milk and meat production. Some breeds are also good for fiber production.

Sheep is a very familiar domestic animal. Dry weather and cold area is very suitable for sheep farming. The main characteristics of sheep is that their body is fully covered with fur. Their skin and fur is very valuable. Sheep are not highly milk productive like goat. There are about 200 sheep breeds around the world.

Different Types of Sheep Breeds

Sheep breeds are of three types according to their production which are described below.

Meat Productive Sheep Breeds

Dorset, Suffolk, Cheviot etc. are highly meat productive sheep breeds.

Hair Productive Sheep Breeds

Merino, Rambouillet etc. are hair productive sheep breeds.

Hair & Meat Productive Sheep Breeds

Cordially, Montadale, Kooka etc are famous for both hair and meat production.

sheep, sheep breeds, list of sheep breeds, sheep breeds picture

Some Popular Sheep Breeds

Here we are going to shortly discuss about some of the most popular sheep breeds and their defining traits.

Merino Sheep

Merino sheep are known for their fine wool, which is highly sought after for clothing and textiles. They are originally from Spain but are now raised in many countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Merinos have a long history of breeding for wool quality, and their fleece is prized for its softness, fineness, and elasticity. Merino wool is also naturally moisture-wicking and insulating, making it ideal for outdoor clothing.

Dorset Sheep

Dorset sheep are a breed of domestic sheep that are primarily used for meat production. They are medium to large-sized, with white wool and a docile temperament.

Dorsets are well-suited to a range of climates and are considered hardy and adaptable. They can produce high-quality lamb meat year-round, making them a popular choice for commercial farming.

Suffolk Sheep

Suffolk sheep are a large, black-faced breed that originated in England. They are primarily bred for their meat, which is tender and flavorful.

Suffolk sheep are also known for their excellent mothering abilities, making them a popular choice for breeding ewes. They are hardy and adaptable, thriving in a range of environments.

Jacob Sheep

Jacob sheep are an ancient British breed known for their distinctive multi-colored wool and distinctive horns. They are smaller in size but hardy and adaptable, able to thrive in a range of climates.

The fleece of Jacob sheep is highly valued by hand spinners and weavers due to its unique coloring and texture.

Cheviot Sheep

Cheviot sheep are a hardy breed that originated in the Scottish Borders. They are primarily bred for their wool, which is long and coarse, but also produce high-quality meat.

Cheviots are known for their lively temperament and are popular with hobby farmers and smallholders.

Border Leicester Sheep

Border Leicester sheep are a large, white-faced breed that originated in England. They are primarily bred for their long, lustrous wool, which is highly valued by hand spinners and weavers.

Border Leicesters are also known for their excellent mothering abilities, making them a popular choice for breeding ewes.

Hampshire Sheep

Hampshire sheep are a medium to large-sized breed that are primarily bred for their meat. They have a distinctive black face, ears, and legs and are considered an easily recognizable breed. Hampshire sheep are known for their fast growth rate and ability to produce lean, high-quality meat.

Texel Sheep

Texel sheep are a breed originating from the island of Texel in the Netherlands. They are primarily bred for meat production and are known for their muscular build and high-quality meat.

Texel sheep are also prized for their fine wool, which is used for clothing and textiles.

Romney Sheep

Romney sheep are a medium to large-sized breed that originated in England. They are primarily bred for their wool, which is long and lustrous, with a high yield.

Romneys are also excellent mothers and can produce multiple lambs each year, making them a popular choice for commercial farming.

Karakul Sheep

Karakul sheep are an ancient breed originating from Central Asia. They are primarily bred for their meat and their unique fur, which is highly prized for its softness and durability.

Karakul sheep are known for their ability to adapt to extreme climates, making them ideal for desert regions.

All Sheep Breeds

Breed name, production purpose and origin place of some popular sheep breeds are listed in the chart below.

Breed NamePurposeOrigin
AcipayamMeat, woolTurkey
AfrikanerMeatSouth Africa
AlaiMeat, woolKyrgyzstan
Algarve ChurroMeat, woolPortugal
Alpines SteinschafMeat, woolGermany
ArabiMeatIran, Iraq
Afghan ArabiMeatAfghanistan
ArapawaWoolNew Zealand
Armenian SemicoarsewoolMeat, milkArmenia
AssafMeat, milkIsrael
AwassiMeat, milk, woolSyro-Arabian desert
Badger Face Welsh MountainMeatWales
BalkhiMeat, woolAfghanistan, Pakistan
Balwen Welsh MountainMeatWales
Barbados BlackbellyMeatCaribbean
BardokaMeat, milk, woolSerbia
Bentheimer LandschafVegetation managementGermany
BergamascaMeat, milk, woolItaly
Berrichon du CherMeatFrance
Beulah Speckled FaceMeatUnited Kingdom
Blackhead PersianMeat, woolSouth Africa
Black Welsh MountainMeatUnited Kingdom
Brecknock Hill CheviotMeat, woolWales
Bleu du MaineMeatFrance
Bluefaced LeicesterMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
BondMeat, woolAustralia
Booroola MerinoMeat, woolAustralia
Border LeicesterMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
Border CheviotMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
BorerayMeat, woolScotland
BovecMeat, milkItaly
Braunes BergchafMeat, wool, vegetation managementGermany
British MilkMeat, milk, woolUnited Kingdom
California RedMeat, woolUnited States
Canadian ArcottMeatCanada
Castlemilk MooritHobbyScotland
CharollaisMeat, woolFrance
CheviotMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
ChiosMilkIsland of Chios
CholistaniMeat, woolPakistan
Clun ForestMeat, milk, woolUnited Kingdom
Coburger FuchsschafVegetation managementGermany
ColumbiaWoolUnited States
ComebackMeat, woolAustralia
CoopworthMeat, woolNew Zealand
CorriedaleMeat, woolNew Zealand
CotswoldMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
CriolloMeatCentral America
Dala FurMeat, woolSweden
DalesbredMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
DaglicMeat, milk, woolTurkey
DamaniMeat, woolPakistan
Danish LandraceWoolDenmark
DebouilletWoolUnited States
Delaine MerinoWoolUnited States
Derbyshire GritstoneMeatUnited Kingdom
Devon ClosewoolMeatUnited Kingdom
Devon LongwoolledMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
Dohne MerinoMeat, woolSouth Africa
DorperMeatSouth Africa
Dorset HornMeatUnited Kingdom
Dorset DownMeatUnited Kingdom
Drenthe HeathMeatNetherlands
DrysdaleWoolNew Zealand
Exmoor HornMeatUnited Kingdom
Estonian RuhnuMeat, woolEstonia
English LeicesterMeatUnited Kingdom
East FriesianMilkGermany
FaroeMeatFaroe Islands
FinnsheepMeat, milk, woolFinland
GaddiMeat, woolIndia
GalicianMeat, milkSpain
Gansu Alpine Fine WoolWoolChina
Gentile di PugliaWoolItaly
GotlandMeat, woolSweden
Greyface DartmoorMeatUnited Kingdom
Grey TroenderWoolNorway
GromarkMeat, woolAustralia
Gulf Coast NativeMeatUnited States
GuteGenetic conservationSweden
HampshireMeatUnited Kingdom
HebrideanVegetation managementScotland
HerdwickMeatUnited Kingdom
Hill RannorMeatUnited Kingdom
Hog IslandWoolUnited States
IcelandicMeat, milk, woolIceland
Ile de FranceMeatFrance
JacobMeat, woolMiddle East
Jezersko SolcavaMeat, woolSlovenia
Kerry HillMeatWales
KatahdinMeatUnited States
KarayakaMeat, milkTurkey
KarakulMeat, milk, woolCentral Asia
LaticudaMeat, milkItaly
LonkMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
LohiMeat, woolIndia
LincolnMeat, woolUnited Kingdom


Morada NovaMeatBrazil
MontadaleMeat, woolUnited States
MeronolandschafMeat, woolGermany
Merinizzata ItalianaMeat, woolItaly
MeatmasterMeatSouth Africa
MasseseMeat, milkItaly
Manx LoaghtanMeat, woolIsle of Man
MerinoMeat, woolSpain
NajdiMeat, milk, woolSaudi Arabia
Navajo ChurroMeat, woolUnited States
Norfolk HornMeatUnited Kingdom
North RonaldsayMeat, woolScotland
Northern European Short-TailedMeat, milk, woolGermany, British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia
North Country CheviotMeat, woolScotland
Oxford DownMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
PanamaMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
PerendaleMeat, woolNew Zealand
PinziritaMeat, milk, woolItaly
PolwarthMeat, woolAustralia
PolypayMeat, woolUnited States
PortlandMeatUnited Kingdom
Poll MerinoMeat, woolAustralia
Polled DorsetMeatUnited States
Pomeranian CoarsewoolMeatGermany
RackaMeat, milk, woolHungary
RambouilletMeat, woolFrance
Red MaasaiMeatEast Africa
Rideau ArcottMeat, woolCanada
RomneyMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
RomeldaleMeat, milk, woolUnited States
RoslagMeat, woolSweden
Rouge de l’OuestMeat, milkFrance
Rough FellMeatUnited Kingdom
Royal WhiteMeatUnited States
RudaWoolAlbania, Croatia
RyelandMeatUnited Kingdom
Santa CruzWoolUnited States
Scottish BlackfaceMeatScotland
SerraiMeat, milk, woolGreece
ShetlandMeat, woolScotland
ShropshireMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
SopravissanaMeat, milkItaly
SouthdownMeatUnited Kingdom
Soth African Meat MerinoMeat, woolSouth Africa
SpaelsauMeat, milk, woolNorway
St. CroixMeatUnited States
SuffolkMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
SwaledaleMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
TargheeMeat, woolUnited States
TeeswaterMeat, woolUnited Kingdom
Tiroler SteinschafMeat, woolAustria
TunisMeat, milkTunisia
Valais BlacknoseMeatSwitzerland
Van RooyMeatSouth Africa
Welsh MountainMeatWales
WensleydaleMeatUnited Kingdom
West African DwarfMeatSouthwest to central Africa
White SuffolkMeatAustralia
Whiteface DartmoorMeatUnited Kingdom
Whitefaced WoodlandMeatUnited Kingdom
White Horned heathMeat, woolGermany
White Polled HeathMeat, woolGermany
Wiltshire HornMeatUnited Kingdom
ZwartblesMeat, milkNetherlands
ZuluMeatSouth Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

Many people ask questions about different types of sheep breeds. Here we are trying to list the most common questions about different breeds of sheep, and trying to answer them. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.

What is the most common breed of sheep?

The Rambouillet is the most common breed of domestic sheep in the United States. The breed is especially most common in the western states.

What are the top breeds of sheep in terms of popularity?

The most common and popular breeds of sheep are Merino, Leicester Long-wool, Lincoln, Dorset, Turcana, Dorper, Tsigai, Hampshire sheep etc.

How many varieties of sheep are there?

There are actually thousands of sheep varieties available throughout the world.

What is the best breed of sheep for the beginners?

The best breed of sheep for beginners are Suffolk, Polypay, Blackhead Persian, Dorper etc.

What sheep is best for meat production?

Best breed of sheep for meat production are Suffolk, Dorper, Southdown, Texel, Hampshire, Montadale, Dorset, Shropshire etc.

Which sheep breed is best for both meat and wool production?

Suffolk, Hampshire, Southdown are good for both meat and wool production.

What breed of sheep is best tasting lamb?

Hampshire, Katahdin and Dorper lambs are the most popular for good taste and flavor.

What is the rarest sheep breed?

Cameroon sheep from Kent is one of the rarest breed of sheep.

What is the hardiest breed of sheep?

Hardiness of a sheep depends on numerous factors. However, some best breed of sheep for extreme climates are Katadin, Texels, Barbados Blackbelly, West African Dwarf, Icelandic, St. Croix, Black Welsh Mountain and Shetland sheep.

What is a white sheep called?

There are many sheep breeds available which are white in color. Some most common white sheep are Merino, Rambouillet, Romney, Jacob, Cheviot, Leicester, Dorper, Dorset and many more.

What is female sheep called?

An adult female sheep is called an ewe.

What is a male sheep called?

An adult male sheep is called a ram.

What is a lamb?

A sheep that is less than 1 year of age is called a lamb.

Can sheep live on grass alone?

Yes, sheep are ruminants and they can live on grass alone.

What is sheep meat called?

Sheep meat is called by different names. Such as meat from sheep that is less than one year old is called lamb, and meat from mature sheep is called mutton.

Which sheep breed grows faster?

The Dorper sheep grows faster than any other breeds of sheep. It is a breed of meat sheep and grows very fast.

What is the best sheep for milk?

Sheep are not excellent milkers like goat. Although, there are some sheep available which produce good amount of milk. Such as the East Friesian is a dairy sheep breed.

Can different breeds of sheep live together?

Yes, but it is not recommended.

What is the best pet sheep?

Hair sheep are probably the best pet sheep. They are good choice because they do not require shearing or docking.

How long does a sheep live?

Average lifespan of a sheep is between 10 and 12 years.

How much housing space do sheep require?

Generally, a mature sheep will require about 15 square feet space. Although, it can vary depending on the breeds.

3 thoughts on “Sheep Breeds: Best 207 For Sheep Farming”

  1. I’m trying to find the name of the breed of sheep I saw in North Yorkshire recently. They had a white fleece but it was black/dark brown from just below the throat and down between the front legs and on the under belly. The whole flock looked the same. Thank you.

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