Saeftinger ewe
Saeftinger ewe in Belgium
Image courtesy of Lieven Caekebeke

Santa Cruz
Image courtesy of SVF Foundation

Santa Inês  ram
Santa Inês ram

Santa Ines ewes
Santa Inês ewes

Sardinian sheep
Sardinian sheep
Images courtesy of Sirbonetta

Scotch Mules
Scotch Mules
Images courtesy of
Scotch Mule Association

Scottish Blackface ram
Scottish Blackface ram
(Owned by Jim Newman)

Scottish Blackface ewe
Scottish Blackface ewe
Images courtesy of EverRanch Farm
(Photos by Franna Pitt)

Scottish Greyface ewes
Image courtesy of Society of
Border Leicester Sheep Breeders

Black Shetland

Images courtesy of
Little Country Acres

Shetland ram

Shetland-Cheviot ewes
Shetland-Cheviot ewes

Shropshire ram in the UK
Shropshire ram in UK
Image Courtesy of Shropshire
Sheep Breeders' Association

American Shropshire ram
American Shropshire ram
Image Courtesy of
McCabe Shropshires

Skudde ewe and lamb
Image courtesy of Marion

Skudde ram
Skudde ram
Image courtesy of Frank De Smedt and
Vlaamse hobbyfokkers van geiten en schapen

Soay of St. Kilda
Soay ewe
Image courtesy of Sheep of St. Kilda

Soay ewe and lamb
(American Soay) ewe and lamb
Image courtesy of
Blue Mountain Soay Sheep

Solognote ram
Solognote ram
Image source: French Livestock Breeds

Somali sheep
Somali sheep
Image courtesy of Louise Bechmann

South African Meat Merino

SAMM sheep

Images courtesy of
Jeancourt Prime SAMM

SAMM yearling ewes

Southdown ram
Supreme Champion Southdown Ram
Royal Melbourne Show 2004
Image Courtesy of

Ivydown Southdown Stud

American Southdown
American Southdown ram
Image courtesy of MB Genetics

South Suffolk ram

South Suffolk ram and ewes

Images courtesy of
Victorian South Suffolk Society

South Suffolk ewes

South Wales Mountain
South Wales Mountain
Image Source:
National Sheep Association

Spanish Merino ram
Spanish Merino
Image courtesy of
EAAP-Animal Genetic Bank

Spael sheep
Spael Sheep
Image courtesy of
EAAP-Animal Genetic Bank

Spael sheep
Spael sheep
Image courtesy of Frank De Smedt and
Vlaamse hobbyfokkers van geiten en schapen

    Sheep Breeds S - St

  • Saeftinger

  • The Saeftinger breed originated around 1986 by crossing a Romanov ram onto Suffolk ewes. The breed takes its name from the salt meadows where it grazes. The meat from the Saeftinger is a culinary specialty. Mature ewes average 2.2 lambs per lambing; ewe lambs, 2.0. Three lamb crops in two years is common. Ewes and rams are both hornless.

    Breed categories: meat, short-tailed

    Distribution: Belgium, Netherlands

  • Santa Cruz

    There is considerable uncertainty as to the exact origin of the sheep of Santa Cruz Island, even to the century in which sheep were placed there. Speculation is that Merino, Rambouillet, and perhaps some Churro figure in the Santa Cruz sheep's background, and it is certain that the sheep have been feral for the last 70 years. The Nature Conservancy acquired 88% of the island (located off the coast of southern California) during the 1970's and began an eradication program in 1980.

    In 1988, twelve lambs were brought off the island by a team of Nature Conservancy and ALBC volunteers and were placed with five California breeders to begin a population rebuilding effort. The Santa Cruz Island sheep breed is an important genetic resource. Its historic background, long period of isolation, and adaptation to a challenging environment have given the breed an array of characteristics not found among commercial breeds.

    Breed categories: feral, rare, heritage

    Distribution: United States

    Go to SVF Foundation =>

  • Santa Inês

    The Santa Inês is a breed of hair sheep found in Brazil. It is generally thought to be a cross of Morada Nova, the course-wooled Italian breed, Bergamasca, and the native coarse-wooled Crioula, followed by a period of selection or evolution for absence of fleece. Colors range from red, black and white and can be spotted or solid. They have large bodies, are long-legged and have large pendulous ears and are polled.

    Rams do not have a throat ruff. They have a low litter size of 1.25. Mature weights of the ewes in the field fall between 40 and 50 kg. (88 to 110 lbs.), and if well fed, the rams can weigh as much as 100 kg (220 lbs).

    Breed categories: hair (meat), skin

    Distribution: South America

    Go to Associação Brasileira de Criadores de Ovinos =>

  • Sardinian

    The Sardinian breed originated from the local lowland breed which were large, polled, and had white wool. Merino and Barbary breeding were also used in developing the breed. The males are occasionally horned and the females are polled (hornless). Sardinian sheep are primarily keep for milk production. Pecorino sarda cheese is made only from Sardinian sheep milk coming from the island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy. In Sardinia, there are more sheep than people.

    Breed categories: dairy, carpet wool

    Distribution: Europe

  • Scotch Mule

    The Scotch Mule is an intentionally produced crossbred sheep out of Scottish Blackface ewes and sired by Bluefaced Leicester rams. The term "mule" (when it refers to sheep) is used for an intentionally produced crossbred sheep that is sired by a Bluefaced Leicester ram. In the United Kingdom, Mule ewes are the backbone of the commercial sheep industry. The various types of Mules are the most popular commercial ewes in the UK, and the Bluefaced Leicester is the number one crossing sire there.

    The advantages of the Mule as a commercial ewe are many, and the Bluefaced Leicester imparts many highly desirable qualities in his crossbred daughters. The Mule ewe will have improved maternal qualities such as early maturity, increased prolificacy, improved milk production, more capacity, in addition to hybrid vigor.
    [Text courtesy of Nancy Cox Starkey]

    Breed categories: half-breed, meat

    Distribution: United Kingdom

    Go to Scotch Mule Association =>

  • Scottish Blackface

    The Scottish Blackface is by far the most important blackface sheep in all of Great Britain. They are primarily used for crossing, usually with the Border or Bluefaced Leicester. They originated as a mountain sheep in Scotland, and there is a tradition that they came from a Spanish ship wrecked during the northward flight of Armada in 1588. The Scottish Blackface has a light weight fleece of long, coarse wool. Both sexes have horns.

    In addition to an attractive and stylish fleece, their roman nose and unusual black and white face markings set them apart in appearance. The Scottish Blackface is found in the Highlands and Borders of Scotland, Pennines, Dartmoor and Northern Ireland. They have also been exported to the United States, Italy and Argentina.

    Breed categories: carpet wool

    Distribution: United Kingdom, Europe, North America, South America

    Go to Blackface Sheep Breeders Association =>
    Go to =>

  • Scottish Greyface

    By using the Border Leicester ram with the Scottish Blackface ewe, the Scottish Greyface is produced. The Scottish Greyface ewe has the same purpose as other Halfbred and Mule ewes,namely to produce quality prime lamb when put to a terminal sire. As the name suggests, she has a speckled face, gray in color. The body is long, well-sprung, and evenly fleshed. The Scottish Greyface can be found in all parts of the British Isles.

    Breed categories: half-breed, meat

    Distribution: United Kingdom

  • Shetland

    The Shetland's roots go back over a thousand years, probably to sheep brought to the Shetland Islands by Viking settlers. They belong to the Northern European short-tailed group of sheep, which also includes Finn sheep, Icelandic sheep, and Romanovs. The Shetland is a primitive, unimproved breed noted for its natural hardiness, lambing ease, longevity, and ability to survive under harsh conditions. It is one of the smallest breeds of sheep.

    Shetlands are known primarily for their production of colorful wool upon which the Shetland woolen industry is based. Shetland comes in one of the widest ranges of colors of any breed. There are 11 main colors as well as 30 markings, many still bearing their Shetland dialect names. Shetlands naturally shed their wool during late spring/early summer.

    Breed categories: primitive, short-tailed

    Distribution: United Kingdom, North America

    Go to North American Shetland Sheepbreeders Association =>
    Go to Indiana Shetland Sheep Breeders Association =>
    Go to Midwest Shetland Sheep Breeders Association =>
    Go to Shetland Sheep Society =>

  • Shetland-Cheviot

    From the turn of the 20th century, North Country Cheviot rams have been bred with the Shetland ewe to produce what has become locally as the Shetland-Cheviot. The hybrid vigor prdouced from the crossing the two pure breeds ensures that the Shetland-Cheviot retains the features of both. She is a hardy, thrifty, and milky with her sire's excellent conformation.

    Following the realization that a small ewe crossed with a large, fast growing sire could produce prime lamb very efficiently, producers outside Shetland turned to the breed, which has spread into the Orkneys, Caithness and down through Scotland. The Shetland-Cheviot's main purpose is to produce quality lamb when put to a suitable ram, usually a terminal sire.

    Breed categories: half-breed, medium wool

    Distribution: United Kingdom

  • Shropshire

    Shropshires are a good, middle-of-the-road sheep, medium to large in size, with dark faces and wool on the legs. They originated in central western England in the counties of Shropshire and Stafford from native stock, Southdown, Leicester, and Cotswold crosses. First imported into the United States in 1855, until the 1930's, the Shropshire was the most popular and influential breed in the country.

    Called the "Ideal Farm Sheep," Shropshires were boasted to have "wool from the tip of the nose to the tip of the toes." Over the last few decades, Shropshires have evolved into a very modern and productive breed, perfect for families with youth projects.

    Breed categories: medium wool, meat

    Distribution: United Kingdom, Europe, North America

    Go to American Shropshire Registry Association =>
    Go to the Shropshire Sheep Breeders' Association =>

  • Skudde

    The Skudde is a nordic, short-tailed heather sheep. Its original homeland was East Prussia and the Baltic States. Today a few small herds can be found in these areas. The most noticeable feature of the Skudde ram is the imposing snail horn. The ewes are hornless or carry horn stumps. In individual cases, it occurs that ewes carry chamois-like “hornlets.” The animals are slender, the weight of the rams lies between 35 and 50 kg (77-110 lbs), that of the ewes from 25 to 40 kg (55-88 lbs).

    The wool mixture typical of this breed consists of fine wool fibers, dispersed with short hairs and course cover hair. The colors are white, brown, black, and gray. White Skuddes have small pigment spots on the head. Lambs have a rust-colored marking in the nape of the neck and on the legs. This coloring disappears in adults.

    Skuddes are not kept for their meat. They are suited for pasturing more barren areas. The meat is held to be a delicacy in circles of connoisseures. Skuddes come into heat aseasonally. Lambs are born at any time of the year. As a rule three lambings are possible in two years.

    Breed categories: rare, short-tail

    Distribution: Europe

    Go to Skuddenschäferei auf dem Vulkan =>

  • Soay
    The Soay has been called the only living example of the small, primitive sheep which inhabited the British Isles before the coming of the Norsemen and Romans. Their name is derived from the island of Soay off the coast of Scotland. Soays were originally imported to North America in 1974. They are a small framed sheep with a fleece that varies from light to dark brown in color and is shed naturally in the summer.

    Breed categories: primitive, short-tail, double-coated

    Distribution: United Kingdom, Europe, North America

    Go to the Soay Sheep Society =>
    Go to Sheep of St. Kilda =>

  • Solognote

    The Solognote is an old breed that derives its name from Sologne, France, where it was developed in the 15th century. The breed was very widespread in the 1850's. It has been exported to Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Morocco. The Solognote is a very rustic breed that is able to tolerate diseases and poor feeding conditions.

    Breed category: medium wool, rare

    Distribution: Europe, Africa

  • Somali
    (Black Head Somali, Ogaden)

    The Somali is a hair sheep native to Somali in Africa where they are reared primarily for meat production. They are white with a black head. Both sexes are polled and the breed belongs to the fat-rumped type. Somali sheep are the immediate ancestor of the Blackheaded Persian which was developed in South Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and that has been widely used for crossbreeding in many parts of Africa and elsewhere in the tropics.

    Breed categories: hair (meat), fat-rumped

    Distribution: Africa, South America

  • South African Meat (Mutton) Merino>
    (Prime SAMM)

    SAMMs were imported into South Africa by the Department of Agriculture from 1936 to 1974 from Germany where the Deutsche Fliesch Merino is a common meat sheep of Germany, Austria, and Poland. In South Africa, the name was translated as Duits Vleis Merinoand then into English as German Mutton Merino. In 1974, the South African Breed Society changed the name to the South African Mutton Merino.

    When imported into Australia in 1996, Western Australian SAMM breeders registered the name Prime SAMM, as the Australian usage of the word "'Mutton" relates to a description of extremely old and inedible sheepmeat. The translation used in Australia is "South African Meat Merino." The SAMM is bred specifically to produce a slaughter lamb at an early age (35 kg/77 lbs. at 100 days of age), while still being able to produce good volumes (4 kg/8.8 lbs) of medium to strong wool.

    Breed categories: Merino, dual-purpose

    Distribution: Worldwide

    Go to Prime SAMM Breeders' Society of Australia Inc. =>

    Go to New Zealand Meat Merino Group =>

  • Southdown

    The Southdown takes its name from the Chalk Hills of Sussex County in extreme southeastern England where they are said to have roamed from time immemorial. They are one of the oldest sheep breeds, having contributed to the foundation stock of all other down breeds: Suffolk, Hampshire, and Oxford.

    Historians are not agreed as to when the first Southdowns were imported to America, but it is known that they were introduced very early in the history of the country. Governor Winthrop, early Connecticut governor is said to have acquired a flock of Southdown ewes in 1648. Southdowns adapt well to intensive management, pass their superb conformation onto their offspring, and can thrive and maintain flesh where many other breeds would virtually starve.

    Breed categories: medium wool, meat

    Distribution: Worldwide

    Go to American Southdown Breeders' Association =>
    Go to the Southdown Sheep Society =>
    Go to Southdown Sheep Society of New Zealand =>
    Go to Southdown Australia =>

  • South Suffolk

    The South Suffolk is a fixed cross between the Suffolk and Southdown breeds. It is a large, comparatively heavy meat breed of sheep. Rams are for use as terminal sires, used in cross breeding for early prime lamb production. South Suffolks can be found in most states of Australia and in New Zealand, where the breed originated. The wool is of the fine Downs type and measures 24 to 26 micron in fiber diameter. Fertility levels are high.

    Breed categories: medium wool, meat

    Distribution: Australia, New Zealand

    Go to Victorian South Suffolk Society =>


  • South Wales Mountain

    South Welsh Mountain sheep have been reared on the harsh hill pastures of South Wales for centuries. Their ability to thrive where lesser breeds have failed has ensured their predominance in the area. They are a dual purpose breed. They are similar in appearance to other Welsh Mountain breeds, and rams are frequently used to improve the size and conformation of the other Welsh Mountain breeds.

    When crossed with a Suffolk ram, the South Wales Mountain ewe produces ewe lambs that are much sought after as lowland breeding ewes, being hardy, prolific and good milkers with strong conformation. Their fleece is dense with an even mixture of white kempy fiber.

    Breed categories: dual-purpose, hill

    Distribution: United Kingdom

  • Spanish Merino

    A number of sheep breeding nations, including Phoenicia, Italy, and Spain, are believed to have played a part in the development of the Merino sheep. However, it is generally agreed upon that the Moors, who dominated Spain through the eighth to thirteenth centuries, were primarily responsible for selectively breeding the animals to such an extent that the wool they produced became superior to that of all other sheep.

    Indeed, the word Merino may be of Moorish origin, possibly evolving from their word for a judge that settled disagreements about flocks between shepherds. By the eighteenth century, Merino wool was considered so luxurious and valuable only the sovereign of Spain was permitted to send Merino sheep out of the country, which he occasionally conveyed as gifts.

    The Merino fleece sits at the top of the grading charts for fineness; it is the standard against which all others are measured. Merino sheep are also noted for their hardiness and their herding instincts and have been used as parents of several other breeds, notably the Rambouillet of France.

    Breed categories: fine wool

    Distribution: Worldwide

  • Spael sheep
    (Norsk Spael Sheep, Spælsau )

    The Norwegian Spael sheep is named after the short, nearly wool-less tail (spælen). It originates from the old Norwegian landrace of sheep. In 1912, two breeding stations were established to prevent extinction of the breed. Icelandic sheep were crossed onto the Spael sheep through semen import in the 1960's and 1970's. Finnsheep and Faeroe Island sheep were also used in the breeding of Spael sheep.

    The sheep are most commonly white, but there are also black, brown, grey and blue-grey animals and various forms of piebald are found. Most animals are polled, with about 10% occurrence of horned in both sexes. The wool is double coated, with mean fibre diameter 31.5 micron of underwool and 57.1 micron of outer hair.wool is used for many different products and woolskins and nappa leather are made out of the pelts.

    Breed categories: Swedish landrace, short-tailed, double-coated

    Distribution: Northern Europe

Last updated 19-Apr-2021
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