American Blackbelly Hair Sheep Breed Information
American Blackbelly sheep are distinct among hair sheep breeds due to their exotic look and dark black facial bars. Often described as "badger-faced," the American Blackbelly has black markings on the face, belly, legs, chin, chest and inguinal region. American Blackbelly rams are known for an impressive rack of horns and mature rams frequently have magnificent curls of 30 inches or more. This rack of horns, combined with a prominent "roman" nose and wide muzzle gives the American Blackbelly rams a noble, masculine appearance. Blackbelly ewes often have a refined, feminine appearance making it easy to distinguish one gender from the next. The American Blackbelly breed was developed in Texas in the 1970s by crossing Barbados Blackbelly with Mouflon and Rambouillet sheep and though similar in appearance the American Blackbelly is not to be confused with the Barbados Blackbelly - a separate breed.
As a hair sheep breed, the American Blackbelly typically possesses smooth hair that lays flat across its body with a longer mane around the chest and shoulders. Hair colors blend seamlessly over a solid foundation of dense bones and heavy muscle - especially over the shoulders, legs and back. Ideally the American Blackbelly breed matures early and the breed is often parasite resistant (as is the case with several breeds of hair sheep). These qualities make the breed very desirable to farmers who want to raise hardy, resilient stock, although they are also popular on smaller farms raising exotic animals due to their striking, wild appearance. The American Blackbelly sheep breed is gaining popularity in the U.S.
Duke & Turk, two American Blackbelly rams from Vina Plains Ranch
MATURE BODY WEIGHT
Ram 110-140 lb.
Ewe 75-95 lb.