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.
Breed name, production purpose and origin place of some popular sheep breeds are listed in the chart below.
|Algarve Churro||Meat, wool||Portugal|
|Alpines Steinschaf||Meat, wool||Germany|
|Armenian Semicoarsewool||Meat, milk||Armenia|
|Awassi||Meat, milk, wool||Syro-Arabian desert|
|Badger Face Welsh Mountain||Meat||Wales|
|Balkhi||Meat, wool||Afghanistan, Pakistan|
|Balwen Welsh Mountain||Meat||Wales|
|Bardoka||Meat, milk, wool||Serbia|
|Bentheimer Landschaf||Vegetation management||Germany|
|Bergamasca||Meat, milk, wool||Italy|
|Berrichon du Cher||Meat||France|
|Beulah Speckled Face||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Blackhead Persian||Meat, wool||South Africa|
|Black Welsh Mountain||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Brecknock Hill Cheviot||Meat, wool||Wales|
|Bleu du Maine||Meat||France|
|Bluefaced Leicester||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Booroola Merino||Meat, wool||Australia|
|Border Leicester||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Border Cheviot||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Braunes Bergchaf||Meat, wool, vegetation management||Germany|
|British Milk||Meat, milk, wool||United Kingdom|
|California Red||Meat, wool||United States|
|Cheviot||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Chios||Milk||Island of Chios|
|Clun Forest||Meat, milk, wool||United Kingdom|
|Coburger Fuchsschaf||Vegetation management||Germany|
|Coopworth||Meat, wool||New Zealand|
|Corriedale||Meat, wool||New Zealand|
|Cotswold||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Dala Fur||Meat, wool||Sweden|
|Dalesbred||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Daglic||Meat, milk, wool||Turkey|
|Delaine Merino||Wool||United States|
|Derbyshire Gritstone||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Devon Closewool||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Devon Longwoolled||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Dohne Merino||Meat, wool||South Africa|
|Dorset Horn||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Dorset Down||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Exmoor Horn||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Estonian Ruhnu||Meat, wool||Estonia|
|English Leicester||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Finnsheep||Meat, milk, wool||Finland|
|Gansu Alpine Fine Wool||Wool||China|
|Gentile di Puglia||Wool||Italy|
|Greyface Dartmoor||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Gulf Coast Native||Meat||United States|
|Hill Rannor||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Hog Island||Wool||United States|
|Icelandic||Meat, milk, wool||Iceland|
|Ile de France||Meat||France|
|Jacob||Meat, wool||Middle East|
|Jezersko Solcava||Meat, wool||Slovenia|
|Karakul||Meat, milk, wool||Central Asia|
|Lonk||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Lincoln||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Montadale||Meat, wool||United States|
|Merinizzata Italiana||Meat, wool||Italy|
|Manx Loaghtan||Meat, wool||Isle of Man|
|Najdi||Meat, milk, wool||Saudi Arabia|
|Navajo Churro||Meat, wool||United States|
|Norfolk Horn||Meat||United Kingdom|
|North Ronaldsay||Meat, wool||Scotland|
|Northern European Short-Tailed||Meat, milk, wool||Germany, British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia|
|North Country Cheviot||Meat, wool||Scotland|
|Oxford Down||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Panama||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Perendale||Meat, wool||New Zealand|
|Pinzirita||Meat, milk, wool||Italy|
|Polypay||Meat, wool||United States|
|Poll Merino||Meat, wool||Australia|
|Polled Dorset||Meat||United States|
|Racka||Meat, milk, wool||Hungary|
|Red Maasai||Meat||East Africa|
|Rideau Arcott||Meat, wool||Canada|
|Romney||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Romeldale||Meat, milk, wool||United States|
|Rouge de l’Ouest||Meat, milk||France|
|Rough Fell||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Royal White||Meat||United States|
|Santa Cruz||Wool||United States|
|Serrai||Meat, milk, wool||Greece|
|Shropshire||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Soth African Meat Merino||Meat, wool||South Africa|
|Spaelsau||Meat, milk, wool||Norway|
|St. Croix||Meat||United States|
|Suffolk||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Swaledale||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Targhee||Meat, wool||United States|
|Teeswater||Meat, wool||United Kingdom|
|Tiroler Steinschaf||Meat, wool||Austria|
|Van Rooy||Meat||South Africa|
|West African Dwarf||Meat||Southwest to central Africa|
|Whiteface Dartmoor||Meat||United Kingdom|
|Whitefaced Woodland||Meat||United Kingdom|
|White Horned heath||Meat, wool||Germany|
|White Polled Heath||Meat, wool||Germany|
|Wiltshire Horn||Meat||United Kingdom|
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.