The Black Welsh Mountain sheep have been around since the Middle Ages, when they were considered a status of wealth and sold by merchants. Breeders in the mid 1900’s started to single out black-fleeced Mountain Sheep in particular, which is why this color has become a prevalent variety.
What do Black Welsh Mountain Sheep Look Like?
They are small and black in color and free of wool on both the legs, starting below the knees, and the face. Rams have impressive horns and the ewes are polled, meaning that they do not have horns.
In the United Kingdom, the Black Welsh Mountain breed is the only one that is solely black. This makes the fleece of this breed quite desirable among some fiber artists.
It was imported into the United States in 1972 and has since become a favorite type of fleece for hand spinners. The wool produced by this breed is dense, uniform in color, and very durable (well suited for garments which see regular use).
Why Raise This Breed of Sheep?
The Black Welsh Mountain breed is known to be extremely hardy. Ewes are excellent mothers and lambs are strong and vigorous at birth.
This breed is also popular due to its resistance to common ailments such as fly strike and hoof rot.
How Many Black Welsh Mountains Are There?
Worldwide there are approximately 10,000 Black Welsh Mountain sheep, with the majority found in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.
There’s a smaller population in North America as well (about 1,600 animals spread across 40 or so flocks in the US and Canada).
|MATURE BODY WEIGHT||Ram: 100-125 lbs.|
Ewe: 75-100 lbs.
|AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER||Micron: 29-36|
USDA Wool Grade: 44’s-54’s
|GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT||Ewe 3-4 lb.|
For more information about this breed or to find a breeder near you, visit the American Black Welsh Mountain Sheep Association website.