Sheep Breeds

Sheep breeds are differentiated from others. Sheep are very small and adaptable ruminant mammals. Its nutritional requirements are minimal and easily filled in low-tech pastures. Most farms and farms are in small quantities and due to their efficiency in food conversion and the excellent quality of their products are increasingly used for purely productive purposes.

The ewes mainly supply meat, milk, and wool, but also supply man with other products such as manure, skin, and hair. Their development requires a small investment and are very manageable for their quiet temperament.

sheep breeds

According to their age and body shape sheep are classified as follows:




Lambs lambs


Lambs lambs From birth to the first year of age or 25 kg


Males Breeding Males Breeding males older than one-year-old


Females Sheep Females with 1 or more births



The taxonomic classification of the sheep:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Genus: Ovis
Species: O. aries
Binomial name
Ovis aries
Linnaeus, 1758

Worldwide there are 450 breeds of sheep. Some are not specialized in the production of meat, wool or milk, being more used for a double purpose.

In order to differentiate the sheep breeds it is important to observe:

Sheep Breeds of double purpose:


This race was created by the New Zealanders when crossing Merino x Lincoln. New Zealand is very similar to the region between Concepción and Aysén (Chile). They have adapted to this zone without problems.

2. Romney Marsh:

Of English origin, it is raised in flat areas and with high humidity. In Chile, it has adapted to the region between Temuco and Chiloé; Supplying, by its thick wool, to the chilota craftsmanship and to the great industry of mattresses and fillings in general.

3. Meat-producing breeds:

The production of meat and wool in these breeds is of intermediate values, having for example productions of 4 to 6 kg of wool and of an intermediate fineness (28 to 30 microns) between the races of wool and of meat.

Meat-producing breeds are characterized by their higher growth rate becoming larger animals at the same age, their meat is leaner, have a higher yield to the benefit and a better feed conversion efficiency. They have a low production of wool (2.5 to 4 kg) and of little fineness (32 to 35 microns).

4. Suffolk:

Suffolk breed is a race of English origin, used to take advantage of the prairies of the hills. It is an agile animal and walker. It has been used to improve native breeds.

5. Hampshire Down:

It is a race formed in England, adapted for flat terrain. It is an animal precocious and a very good producer of meat.

6. Finnish Landrace Or Finnsheep:

It is of Finnish origin. It is a breed of high prolificacy, with a potential of 200% calving rate (two animals per sheep in each calving) and very early, these characteristics make this breed can quickly replace other breeds within the herd.

7. Texel:

Dutch breed developed from the cross of several Creole breeds in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Within the breeds for meat is the one that presents the best skills, obtaining lambs with high growth rate and very lean reaching the optimum weight of work at 40 kilos, 10 kilos more than lamb Corriedale.

8. Border Leicester:

Breed native to the city of Leicestershire, England. She is responsible for the breeding and development of the long wool breeds. Fast growing and therefore the fast presence of lambs in the market.

9. Wool Races:

Wool breeds are characterized by a high production of wool (5 to 8 kg) and good quality and fineness (23 to 25 microns). Among them we find:

10. Australian Merino:

Australian merino breeds comes from the cross of Merino Precoz French x Merino Spanish. It was selected for the production of fine, long and high-density wool. It is a breed well adapted to hot, dry and arid areas.

11. Merino Precoz:

Chilean race obtained from the cross of Merino Early German x Merino Early French.

Production Breeds:

Sheep breeds specializing in milk production have been formed mainly in Europe and Israel. These sheep have a more developed udder being their production by lactation much superior to the other races.

Of the best-known breeds and their origins are:

Spain: Latxa, Manchega and Churra

France: Laucane, Basque-Bemaise

Germany: East Friesian Milchschaft

Italy: Sardinia

Israel: Awassi, Assaf

Race Latxa Sheep:

Race Latxa Sheep is the oldest sheep breed in Spain. It has two varieties:

  1. The dark head (Latxa Cara Negra).
  2. The blonde head (Latxa Cara Blonde).

It has recently been introduced in Chile, specifically in the RM, VI, VII, VIII, X, XII regions.

The mammary gland or udder is globose, well developed, of thin skin and without wool.

Average weight

Black Face:

Females 45-50 kg

Males 55-75 kg

Blonde Face:

Females 35-50 kg

Males 50-70 kg

Assaf Race Sheep:

It is a breed created in Israel composed by the cross of the Awassi sheep and the East Friesian sheep.

It has a high production of milk, good prolificacy and very suitable for the conditions of the Mediterranean environment.

In addition to being a good dairy sheep, the Assaf breed is known as an excellent breed of meat, because it has a lamb with well-distributed fat, which makes its meatless fat.

They are large animals (females = 70kg, and males = 120kg) and have an accumulation of fat at the base of the tail.

Awesome Rare Sheep:

It is a nomadic sheep, selected for its high milk production, calm, easy to handle and milking and adaptable to grazing or confinement.

Only males have horns.

East Friesian Easter Race:

Breed native to northern Germany. It is considered the best producer of milk, but in areas without high temperatures.

The tail is thin and wool less, similar to a mouse tail. Races of which skin is produced.

Oveja Raza Karakul:

It is native to the Russian province of Turkestan, from poor areas where they only have good food for two months a year, which is why they have a thick tail where they store fat reserves for the restrictive times.

Astrakhan, skin used for the manufacture of fine coats, is obtained from lambs sacrificed at the week of age.

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