The Texel sheep breed originated in the Netherlands more than 150 years ago on the Isle of Texel. The breed was introduced to sheep producers in the United States in 1990 where they experienced a surge in popularity.
About Texel Sheep
Texels are highly adaptable sheep that are medium in size with a very unique appearance with short necks. The Texel is lean but heavily muscled and this breed has earned a reputation for having an ideal muscle:bone ratio, with much less carcass fat than other breeds.
Texels are free of wool on their legs and head and feature a white face. While Texels do produce a soft, medium-wool fleece, wool production is typically an afterthought as the meat production of Texel sheep is of primary concern.
Valued for their lean carcasses which are easy to cut – the Texel is valued as a terminal sire in crossbred market- lamb operations where breeders look for fast-gaining, high-yield lambs.
In Europe the Texel is the most dominant terminal-sire sheep breed and while Suffolk rams have traditionally been favored as terminal sires in the U.S., many breeders are now opting for Texel rams instead.
Texel Breed Standard
The Texel breed standard calls for heavy muscling, which is essential for creating the lean meat the sheep is known for. This breed runs between medium and large size. The Texel breed standard calls for white or light-colored medium-grade wool, and you shouldn’t find any black fibers in its medium-grade fleeces.
This breed is sometimes referred to by other names, including the Texelse, the Texelaar, and the Improved Texel. There are several different varieties within the Texel breed. The breed standards vary among them.
Face and Head
The face is wide and short, and this sheep has a black nose. The Texel has a white face, which is without wool.
This sheep has short ears and they are widely spaced out on the head. This is a sheep breed with a distinctive look, especially in the face. The Texel face is wide and short, and some types of Texel have broader faces than others.
With the Blue Texel variety, the head should have a white mark called a halter mark. Characteristics you should avoid in any kind of Texel are excessively large heads and brown hair. Also stay away from sheep that have gray, white, or pink noses. The Texel nose should always be black.
A Texel’s head should be longer than its width. However, this sheep does have a wide muzzle. The nose should be flared. There should be fine white hair all over the head. When it comes to teeth, this sheep’s teeth and dental pad should meet exactly. There will be problems with sheep that have anything different.
Legs and Feet
There isn’t any wool on the Texel’s legs. This sheep breed has black hooves. The Texel’s legs must be strong, mainly because of the need to support what should be a muscular frame. You should see white hair all over the legs. Examples of characteristics you should stay away from are bowed front legs and weak pasterns.
Also avoid Texel sheep that have any white color in the hooves. If a Texel has white color in the hooves, they will probably end up with soft hooves. Stay away from Texels that have a lot of brown hair. Make sure that the sheep’s hooves solidly stand on the ground.
Forequarter and Hindquarter
Texel sheep have a balanced appearance in their frame. It should have a congruent body length.
You shouldn’t breed a Texel that has a sausage-shaped body. In other words, avoid Texel sheep that have long and narrow bodies.
A sloped shape in the shoulder may be a problem. The shoulders ought to have a flat shape across the top, but they should never be sharp. Ensure that the sheep’s shoulder width doesn’t exceed its rib cage.
The Texel’s wool often has a tight crimp. It should have close staple. If you notice a lamb boasting tight wool, this is a sign that it is likely to do well.
Texel fleece weights range from 3.5 kg to 5.5 kg. This sheep should be able to travel longer than average distances.
Texel Breed Information
|Mature Body Weight
|Ram: 190 – 240 pounds
Ewe: 140 – 185 pounds
|Average Fiber Diameter
|Micron 28 – 33
USDA Wool Grade 46’s – 54’s
|Grease Fleece Weight
|7 – 10 pounds
|Wool Staple Length
|3 – 4 inches
For more information about Texels or to find a breeder in your area visit the Texel Sheep Breeders Society website.