Columbia Sheep: First Breed in the United States

The Columbia sheep is an American breed and the first breed that was created in the United States. This breed was developed in early 1910 and was created with the crossing of the species Lincoln and Rambouillet. The reason for the creation of this breed was to obtain a species that produced a high amount of wool and good quality meat. Another reason to create this race was to obtain a race that would make the crosses obsolete. 

And many biologists consider that this objective was achieved since the Columbia sheep is a double-purpose race of excellent quality. This race became very popular after the Second World War since it is a good producer of both meat and wool. The object of the cross was to create a breed that produces more kilos of lamb wool and could replace the miscegenation of the kitchen.

Columbia Sheep

Although originally bred for pastureland, Columbia has found wide acceptance in the United States. And it is used more and more to breed the mongrel lambs market. This species is often confused with the Corriedale race and this is due to the similarity between the species. But to differentiate because Corriedale has a nose and black hooves. While the Columbia sheep has a pink nose and white or black hooves, and this species is smaller.

Characteristics of Columbia Sheep

Columbia sheep are one of the largest breeds. The males weigh between 100 to 140 kg. While the females weigh between 68 to 102 kg. Columbia sheep produce a ball of heavy, medium fleece wool with a good length of staples and tough, fast-growing lambs. This breed of sheep can produce between 5 kg. and 8 kg. of fleece.

The length of the wool reaches between 8 and 15 centimeters long. The head of this species has wool but not to the point of leaving them blind. And both the female and the male do not have horns. Usually, the fleece that is on the face and on the ears should be white, without any black spots. Only the nose can have color pigments. They have a medium-sized neck, which has no wrinkles. On the other hand, they have wide shoulders and with enough meat, well accepted.

It also has a wide chest, and the front legs have a wide separation between them. The back is long, with enough muscles, and wide enough. And they have ribs that stick out enough, with enough width and a lot of depth. A particularity of this species is that the hooves can be both white and black. The females of this species are considered excellent mothers. And they are very sought after to produce on large farms because they produce very large and strong offspring.


Columbia sheep is a species that produces meat of excellent quality, and in good proportions and without the presence of fat. One of the main reasons why they produce this breed is to commercialize it as a great breed. You may also like to read Cheviot Sheep.

While the wool of this breed is very appreciated by the small and medium wool industry. Another reason why this breed is used is to make crosses. It has crossed with the Suffolk breed so that the offspring of these are fast-growing. He also crossed with the Cheviot race to produce the dual-purpose Cheviot race. This race is also exhibited at fairs and shows.


Columbia sheep usually feed in open spaces. They can also feed without the need of a farmer. Regardless of the quality of the grass, whether dry or get fruits and vegetables, the quality of the meat that will produce this breed will be of good quality. You may also like to read Southdown Sheep.

Special Feature

Columbia sheep is one of the largest breeds of pure breeds. It is highly resistant to both climate changes as well as diseases. Now they can survive in arid areas. It presents excellent longevity. One of the reasons why breeders prefer it is because they do not require as much care as other species. There are around 400.000 specimens around the world of this species. In the United States, there is an association of sheep breeders of this species.

And one of the main objectives of this association is to maintain the records of this breed and to maintain purity. As well as the improvement of this species. They also try to propagate the breed since it is of excellent quality, and it is beneficial to produce on large farms. You may also like to read Shetland Sheep.


What is the Columbia sheep used for?

The Columbia sheep is a breed of domestic sheep primarily used for meat production. It was developed in the early 1900’s by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of their development program to create a hardy, easy-care, medium-sized wool and meat producing breed. The original work on this breed began in 1904 at the Umatilla Experiment Station in Oregon with Merino, Rambouillet and Lincoln ewes crossed to Shropshire rams.

What are Columbia sheep characteristics?

Columbia sheep are a hardy and versatile breed of domestic sheep originating in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. They are an all-purpose breed, used for both meat and wool production. Columbia sheep typically have medium to large frames with good muscling throughout their bodies. They can be either white or black, but most often are spotted white with black markings on the head, ears, face and legs. As far as size goes, mature ewes generally range from 130 to 200 pounds while rams typically weigh between 175 and 250 pounds.

How long do Columbia sheep live?

Columbia sheep are a breed of domestic sheep that have been selectively bred primarily for their superior wool production. They are known for their hardy character and can survive in extreme cold weather and harsh climates. The average life expectancy of Columbia Sheep is between 8 to 10 years, although some individual sheep may live as long as 12 or 13 years depending on the health conditions they experience during that time.


The Columbia is one of the first breeds of sheep developed in the United States. It was intended to be an improved breed adapted for the Western ranges of the country, and it’s a product of USDA research and university efforts. They are now found throughout North America wherever grasslands exist–especially on public lands that need grazing animals to maintain them as well as on private ranching operations where they produce meat with excellent quality grades while also protecting habitat from overgrazing by other ungulates such as deer or elk. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck raising your own flock!

As a reference: Wikipedia

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