Small breeds of sheep are an excellent choice for small farms, homesteads and hobby farms.
If you have limited space and don’t have the time or resources for a large-scale operation, then these smaller breeds of sheep are ideal for you. The following is a list of some of the smallest breeds of sheep:
Karakul Sheep: These small but sturdy sheep originated in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. They are extremely hardy, tolerant of heat and cold, and they produce a very high quality wool.
Finnsheep: The Finnsheep was developed in Finland during the 18th century by crossing native Finnish landrace sheep with Merinos brought from Spain. Finnsheeps are small white-faced sheep with black legs and horns. They produce wool that is a blend between wool from Merino sheep and hair from Tian Shan mountain goats (the original wild ancestor). Finnsheeps have excellent mothering instincts, which makes them an ideal choice for backyard flocks as well as commercial operations where ease of handling is important.
Small Breeds Of Sheep
The following small breeds of sheep are listed by breed name, type, purpose and average mature weight.
Breeds of Sheep:
- Leicester Longwool
- Lincolnshire Cottontail
- Columbia Arcott
- Border Leicester Longwool
The following is a list of small breeds of sheep:
- American Fuzzy Lop
- Border Cheviot
- Border Leicester
- Dorset Down
- East Friesian
- English Leicester or Longhorn cattle or sheep
Smaller sheep breeds are great for small acreage, but the smallest ones are also the most challenging to keep.
The smallest breed is the Gotland sheep, which stands about 28 inches tall and weighs about 65 pounds. The next-smallest are Dorset sheep, which weigh about 80 pounds and stand 30 inches tall at maturity. These breeds make excellent pets for children who want to learn how to raise animals from birth to adulthood.
The Cheviot is a medium sized breed that stands 32 inches at maturity and weighs around 100 pounds. This breed is easy to raise, but they tend to be flighty and require fencing or other enclosure systems to keep them safe from predators.
The Southdown is a large sheep that stands 36 inches tall at maturity and weighs around 135 pounds. They are a hardy breed that can handle colder weather than other small breeds of sheep, but they do not do well in hot climates because they lack enough fat reserves for heat insulation against the sun’s rays.
Listed below are the most common breeds of sheep, along with their characteristics, size and uses.
Dorset Horn: This breed is a popular meat-producing sheep. It has a white face and legs, with a black body and short horns. The Dorset is hardy and adaptable, making it suitable for use in many climates. The Dorset Horn is slow growing but produces high quality meat.
Romney: The Romney breed is one of the most adaptable breeds of sheep around. It can be found in many different environments across the world and is known for its hardiness and good growth rates for lambs. The Romney is also known for its wool quality, which makes it popular among wool growers.
Wiltshire Horn: This breed originated from Wiltshire County in England. It has been bred primarily as a meat sheep but does produce high quality wool as well. Wiltshire Horns have a white face with black around their eyes and ears, as well as on their legs below the knee joint down to their hooves. They also have dark brown or black horns that curve back over their heads.