Examples of large sheep breeds include Argali, Bighorn Sheep, Border Leicester, Charollais, and Hampshire Down.
There are a variety of large sheep breeds that are well-suited for a variety of purposes. One of the most popular is the merino, which is prized for its soft, high-quality wool. Other common large sheep breeds include the Suffolk, which is often used for meat production, and the Romneys, which are known for their long, lustrous fleece.
While each breed has its own unique characteristics, all large sheep breeds share certain traits, such as a robust build and superior wool production. As a result, they are an excellent choice for those looking to raise sheep for either commercial or personal purposes.
Examples of Large Sheep Breeds
The largest member of the sheep family, argali weighs up to 400 pounds and stands over five feet tall at the shoulder. They are native to Central Asia and can be found in countries like Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
The argali has long been hunted for its meat and horns, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. The species is classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Argali inhabits a variety of habitats, from open steppes and semi-desert to mountainous areas. They typically live in herds of 10-40 animals, but groups of up to 100 have been observed. The animals are most active at dawn and dusk, though they may also be active during the night or day depending on temperature and season.
2. Bighorn Sheep
The Bighorn Sheep is one of the largest sheep breeds in the world. Males (rams) can weigh up to 250 pounds, while females (ewes) typically weigh between 200 and 300 pounds. These sheep are native to the Rocky Mountains of North America and can be found in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The Bighorn Sheep is best known for its massive horns, which can grow up to four feet in length.
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The Blackbelly is a large sheep breed that can weigh up to 175 pounds. These sheep are native to the United States and are commonly found in the states of Texas and Louisiana. The Blackbelly is a black-faced sheep with a white belly, as its name suggests. These sheep are used for both wool and meat production.
4. Border Leicester
The Border Leicester is a large sheep breed that can weigh up to 225 pounds when fully grown. This sheep is originally from the English-Scottish border region, and it is known for its thick, lustrous wool. The Border Leicester is a popular choice for wool production, as well as for meat.
The Border Leicester is a hardy breed that is relatively easy to care for. They are generally healthy and have few problems with parasites or other health issues. However, like all sheep, they are susceptible to predators such as coyotes, foxes, and dogs.
The Border Leicester is a versatile breed that can be used for a variety of purposes. Their wool is prized for its quality, and their meat is considered to be very flavorful. They are also popular as show animals and make excellent pets.
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The Charollais is a large sheep breed that originates from the Charolles region of France. These sheep are known for their high-quality meat, which is why they are often used in crossbreeding programs with other meat breeds. Charollais ewes typically weigh between 150 and 200 pounds, while rams can weigh up to 250 pounds.
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The North Country Cheviot is a Scottish breed of sheep known for its hardy nature and ability to thrive in harsh conditions. These sheep are large, with ewes averaging around 180 pounds and rams reaching up to 220 pounds. They have a white face and legs, with a dark brown or black body. Cheviots are typically found in the North of England and Scotland, but they can also be found in other parts of the world, such as New Zealand and Australia.
The Dorper is a South African breed of domestic sheep. It was developed in the 1930s from the Dorset Horn and the Blackhead Persian. The Dorper is white with a black head and legs. It is large, with ewes weighing up to 175 pounds and rams up to 230 pounds. The Dorper is well-suited to harsh, arid climates and is now found in many parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
8. Dorset Horn
The Dorset Horn is a large sheep breed that originates from the county of Dorset in England. This sheep breed was once very popular in the United States, but its popularity has declined in recent years. The Dorset Horn is a white sheep with dark horns. It is a dual-purpose breed, meaning it is raised for both meat and wool. The Dorset Horn is a very hardy sheep and does well in both cold and hot climates.
9. Hampshire Down
The Hampshire Down is a large sheep breed that originated in the county of Hampshire in England. The breed was developed in the early 19th century by crossing local landrace sheep with the Teeswater and Southdown breeds. The Hampshire Down is a dual-purpose breed, meaning it is raised for both meat and wool production.
The average mature Hampshire Down ewe will weigh between 190 and 200 pounds, while the rams can reach weights of up to 275 pounds. The Hampshire Down is a popular breed in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
10. Icelandic Sheep
The Icelandic sheep is a small to large-sized breed that is native to Iceland. These sheep are mostly used for their wool, which is very thick and durable. The Icelandic sheep is one of the oldest breeds of sheep in the world, and it is thought to be descended from the Norwegian Spelsau and the British Herdwick.
Icelandic sheep are small to large-sized, with adults weighing between 200 and 220 pounds. They are mostly black or dark brown in color, with some white markings on the face and legs. Icelandic sheep have two horns, which are used to protect them from predators.
The Katahdin is a large, short-tailed sheep that was developed in Maine. It is a cross between the Hampshire and the Tunis. The Katahdin is a hardy breed that does well in harsh climates. It is also known for its excellent meat quality.
12. Lincoln Sheep
The Lincoln sheep is a large breed of sheep that was developed in England in the early 1800s. The Lincoln is one of the heaviest breeds of sheep, with some rams weighing more than 400 pounds. The fleece of the Lincoln is very dense and coarse, making it ideal for use in carpets and rugs. The meat of the Lincoln is also quite popular and is often used in lamb chops and other lamb dishes.
The Rambouillet is a large sheep breed that originally came from France. This sheep breed is known for its high-quality wool. The Rambouillet typically weighs between 250 and 300 pounds when fully grown. These sheep are also relatively tall, with some specimens reaching heights of up to four feet. Today, the Rambouillet is found in many parts of the world, including the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Romney is one of the most popular large sheep breeds. They are a dual-purpose breed, meaning they are both good for wool and for meat. Romney sheep grow to be very large, with some rams weighing up to 200 pounds. They are mostly found in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
The Shropshire is a large sheep breed that originally came from England. It is a dual-purpose breed, meaning it is bred for both its meat and its wool. The average mature weight for a Shropshire ram is between 250 and 350 pounds, and the average ewe weighs between 200 and 250 pounds.
The Suffolk is a large, dual-purpose sheep that was developed in England in the early 1800s. The Suffolk is a black-faced breed that is known for its high-quality meat. The Suffolk is one of the largest sheep breeds, with ewes weighing up to 250 pounds and rams weighing up to 350 pounds.
The Texel is a large sheep breed that was originally developed in the Netherlands. The Texel is a popular choice for meat production, as they are able to put on a lot of muscle quickly. Texels are also known for their thick, lustrous wool. This wool is often used in the production of carpets and other textile products.
18. Tunis Barbari
The Tunis is a large, white-coated Barbary sheep that is found in North Africa. It has both short and long hair wool. Tunisian rams can weigh up to 350 pounds, while the ewes typically weigh between 275 and 300 pounds. The Tunis is a hardy breed that is resistant to parasites and disease.
19. Welsh Mountain Sheep
The Welsh Mountain Sheep is a medium to large-sized breed of sheep that is found in the mountainous regions of Wales. They are a hardy breed that is able to withstand harsh weather conditions. The wool of the Welsh Mountain Sheep is coarse and thick, making it ideal for use in carpets and rugs.
Sheep come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all sheep are bred for one purpose: to provide wool, meat, or both. The breeds of sheep that we’ve listed are some of the most common – and largest – breeds around the world.
Whether you’re looking for a large breed to raise for meat or wool, or you’re just curious about the world of sheep, this list is a great place to start your learning.
Hi, I’m Garreth. Living in South Africa I’ve had the pleasure of seeing most of these animals up close and personal. When I was younger I always wanted to be a game ranger but unfortunately, life happens and now at least I get to write about them and tell you my experiences.