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9 Common Texas Sheep Breeds

In Texas, you’ll find a variety of different sheep breeds. According to TSGRA (Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association), The most common sheep breeds in Texas include Suffolk, Corriedale, Delaine-Merino, Dorper, Rambouillet, Columbia, Hampshire, Dorset, Southdown, and Royal White sheep.

Texas breeders and farmers know of a variety of different sheep breeds – both domestic but more frequently, imported from other parts of the world. The breeds are selected based on their characteristics and what they bring to the table. Some breeds are bred for their milk products, while others are valued for their fleece.

Common Texas Sheep Breeds

Most Common Texas Sheep Breeds

Let’s take a look at the most common Texas sheep breeds and some information about each common Texas breed.

1. Delaine-Merino Sheep

Modern Delaine-Merino sheep are primarily raised for their fleece. They have been around for centuries, but they have derived from the Merino sheep, which are particularly known for their high-quality wool.

Delaine-Merino sheep are stocky sheep with plenty of wool on their bodies. They have a white faces and are very easy to keep. They’ll do well both in harsh conditions such as cold and very hot weather, and can go weeks without being fed. They’re also friendly and gregarious, making them a great choice for Texan farmers.

2. Rambouillet Sheep

The Rambouillet sheep are a popular choice among many farmers since they produce high-quality wool, but can also be used for their meat. Rambouillet sheep have very soft wool and they will produce large quantities of wool yearly, which makes them primary candidates for those who want to sell wool.

In addition to that, many farmers love the character of the Rambouillet sheep. They’re very gregarious and have no problems getting along fine with other sheep. They’re also hardy and live longer than most breeds.

It is for these qualities that Rambouillet sheep have long been included in many crossbreeding programs.

3. Suffolk Sheep

The good old Suffolk sheep is one of the most commonly seen sheep breeds in the UK, but also around the world. It’s known for its black face and white wool. The most desirable trait of a Suffolk sheep is its breeding and milking capability. Because of that, it’s one of the more versatile sheep breeds in Texas.

Up until the late 19th century, the Suffolk sheep were only found in the UK. It was only introduced to the United States in 1888. But despite coming into the States slightly later, the Suffolk sheep instantly became one of the most demanded sheep breeds thanks to its versatile nature.

4. Corriedale Sheep

The Corriedale sheep breed is a result of crossbreeding between Merino sheep and Lincoln or Leicester rams. The result is a neat mixture of good carcass quality and high-quality wool. But the primary purpose of Corriedale sheep is for lambing, which is thanks to their good lambing rates and high-quality meat.

This sheep breed originates from New Zealand and Australia. Like the Suffolk sheep, it has been introduced to the United States in the late 19th century. Nowadays, it is distributed worldwide.

The Corriedale sheep can be found all over the United States, but they’re especially popular with Texan farmers since lamb meat is more desired in this state – more so than in most other states.

5. Columbia Sheep

The Columbia sheep is one of the rare breeds on this list to have originated from the United States. It’s a cross between Rambouillet and Lincoln sheep, resulting in a mixture of top-quality wool and decent carcass quality. 

Primarily, Columbia sheep are raised for their wool, but they’re also a good option for producing meat. Thanks to its mixture of qualities that come with Rambouillet and Lincoln sheep, the Columbia sheep is also one of the more versatile sheep breeds in Texas.

In addition to that, these sheep are gregarious and sturdy, so they can be kept in a variety of different conditions. Not only that, but they’re also good for milking, which can be an additional side product of these sheep.

6. Hampshire Sheep

Short and thick, the Hampshire sheep are valued for their thick and soft wool. Though they are known for their wool, the Hampshire sheep are often primarily bred for meat. 

These sheep have a very distinct appearance; they’re short and thick with black faces and wool on their legs, which is a slightly unusual combination – one that is certainly very different from other sheep breeds in Texas.

But despite the quirky appearance of these sheep, they’re highly valued and versatile in what they can produce.

7. Dorset Sheep

Dorset sheep first developed in the UK, but later spread to other parts of the world such as the United States. There are two types of Dorset sheep: horned and non-horned Dorset sheep. Both can be seen in Texas, and the main difference is, obviously, their horns.

These sheep are known for their thick and all-white coat that is very highly desired around the United States. The wool is one of the main reasons why it’s such a popular sheep breed in Texas.

Overall, this is one of the most popular sheep breeds in the world but also in the United States.

8. Southdown Sheep

The Southdown sheep is known as one of the oldest sheep breeds in the world, and in the United States. It came to Texas as early as 1803, according to some accounts. It was primarily used for lambing purposes and for producing meat thanks to their prolific lambing.

Nowadays, you’ll see this sheep breed very commonly in Texas, thanks to its easy availability and relatively low prices when compared to other sheep breeds.

9. Royal White Sheep

The Royal White sheep breed has always been seen as an exclusive sheep breed in Texas and in the United States. For some time, it was only bred on private farms, but later on, it became more common on many farms around the country.

It’s primarily bred for its lean meat, which contains lower fat quantities than the meat of the vast majority of other sheep breeds out there. 

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Conclusion

As sheep are a domesticated animal, just about any breed can be brought to Texas to be bred. Some common ones that you may see on the Texas countryside include the Suffolk, Corriedale, Delaine-Merino, Dorper, Rambouillet, and Columbia.

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