Rare Sheep Breeds
Get to Know the World's Most Rare Breeds of Sheep
Each of the rare sheep breeds listed below is considered a minor breed due mostly to their relative lack of popularity.
While there are many farms which raise these unique sheep breeds (and love them) these breeds tend to not be valued as highly for commercial production or for the show ring. That said, many of these are wonderful breeds of sheep for 4-Hers just starting out as they tend to be docile, smaller in size, and easy to work with.
The production emphasis of each minor sheep breed listed below varies.
The Blueface Leicester for example shares many of the characteristics of its long wool breed counterpart, the Border Leicester. The Icelandic is a small breed highly valued for its wool production, whereas the Clun Forest is a rare sheep breed which (if not for its relatively low population) might otherwise may fall within the meat breeds category.
While 4-Hers are less likely to meet with a significant amount of competition in the show ring while raising a rare breed of sheep, each of these minor breeds is evaluated against the specifics of their breed standard as determined by their sheep breeder’s association.
Learn More About Some Fascinating Rare Sheep Breeds
Black Welsh Mountain Sheep
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
Blueface Leicester Sheep
The Blueface Leicester sheep breed is a combination of the United Kingdom’s Longwool and the Border Leicester. In the 1700’s, Robert Bakewell decided it would
Clun Forest Sheep
The Clun Forest sheep breed is originally from Shropshire’s southwestern district in England, which is next to the border of Wales. They are predominant in
CVM Sheep (California Variegated Mutant)
The California Variegated Mutant or CVM sheep breed was developed from selective breeding of the Rambouillet and the Romney breeds, which is otherwise known as
Gulf Coast Sheep
One of the first breeds to be found in the United States is the Gulf Coast Native sheep breed. For centuries they have been found
What we recognize as the Icelandic sheep breed is a heritage breed descended from sheep which were brought over to Iceland during the ninth century
The history of the Jacob sheep breed is a mystery but they have been found in England for more than 300 years. The Jacob is
The Karakul is possibly the oldest domesticated sheep breed in the world. They are native to Central Asia’s deserts and feature open faces with fine
Navajo Churro Sheep
Navajo-Churro history shows that the Spanish first brought these sheep to the United States in 1514. They are believed to be the first sheep breed
The Ouessant (pronounced: Ushant) sheep breed is a domestic breed which is named for the island where it originated. The island of Ouessant is a
Scottish Blackface Sheep
Scotland’s history reveals that the iconic Scottish Blackface sheep breed was developed there, and the breed was originally utilized to produce prolific crossbred ewes. These
Shetland history shows that this particular breed has been around for more than a thousand years and is a descendant of the Northern European Short-Tail.
Wiltshire Horn Sheep
The Wiltshire Horn sheep breed developed in the south of England, where its history dates back over numerous centuries. They are sometimes incorrectly described as