American Blackbelly Sheep

American Blackbelly Sheep

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.

Horns of the American Blackbelly Ram

American Blackbelly rams are known for an impressive rack of horns. In fact, mature Blackbelly rams frequently have magnificent curls of 30 inches or more.

American Blackbelly Ram Horns
Duke & Turk, two American Blackbelly rams from Vina Plains Ranch

This rack of horns, combined with a prominent “roman” nose and wide muzzle gives the American Blackbelly rams a noble, masculine appearance.

American Blackbelly Ewes

Unlike rams, Blackbelly ewes often have a refined, feminine appearance making it easy to distinguish one gender from the next.

History of the Breed

Developed in Texas in the 1970’s, the American Blackbelly breed began by crossing Barbados Blackbelly with Mouflon and Rambouillet sheep.

Though similar in appearance, the American Blackbelly is not to be confused with the Barbados Blackbelly – a separate breed.

What Does the American Blackbelly Look Like?

American Blackbelly Sheep Breed Information

As a hair breed, the American Blackbelly typically possesses smooth hair that lays flat across its body.

Additionally, most individuals have a longer mane around the chest and shoulders.

Hair colors blend seamlessly over a solid foundation of dense bones and heavy muscle.

The shoulders, legs and back are especially well muscled.

Why Raise American Blackbelly?

Ideally the American Blackbelly breed matures early. Additionally, the breed is often parasite resistant (as is the case with several breeds of hair sheep). It is these qualities which make the breed very desirable to farmers who want to raise hardy, resilient stock.

That said, they are also popular on smaller farms raising exotic animals due to their striking, wild appearance. Today, the American Blackbelly sheep breed is gaining popularity in the U.S.

American Blackbelly Hair Sheep Size

Mature Body WeightRam: 110 – 140 pounds
Ewe: 75 – 95 pounds

For more information about this breed, or to find a breeder near you visit the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep Association International website.