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5 Smallest Sheep Breeds (A to Z List)

The smallest sheep breed in the world is the Ouessant sheep, which only reaches about 19 inches tall.

There are several other small sheep breeds, including Shetland sheep, American mini cheviot sheep, mini harlequin sheep, and Babydoll Southdown sheep.

Smaller sheep breeds are sometimes preferred by farmers because they’re easier to keep and breed, especially for those who don’t have a lot of space available. They’re also enjoyed by hobby farmers because they can be quite cute!

Smallest Sheep Breeds

List of the Smallest Sheep Breeds

Let’s take a look at the smallest sheep breeds in the world.

1. American Mini Cheviot Sheep

Size: 23 inches
Bred For: Meat and Wool
Origin: Washington State

The American mini cheviot sheep is also one of the smallest sheep breeds in the world.

It is especially prominent in several parts of the United States, where this sheep is actively bred and distributed.

The ewes only weigh around 100lbs, while rams are about 40lbs heavier. This makes them quite easy to handle, especially if you’re someone who hasn’t kept sheep before.

The rams of this breed are known for their large horns, but all sheep of this breed are revered for their high-quality wool and are often kept for this reason.

These sheep prefer to be kept in open fields and pastures where they can feed themselves and stay out in the freedom of nature. They prefer to have the freedom of movement and don’t like to be kept inside, which is why this breed is ideal if you have an open pasture and you’re looking for a smaller breed.

2. Babydoll Southdown Sheep

Size: 18 to 24 inches
Bred For: Meat and Wool
Origin: England

The Babydoll Southdown sheep is known to be very small. It is known for its short and small body with a lot of muscle.

Usually, you’ll see that it has slightly shorter wool but it’s still preferably kept because of its wool.

Because of its stature and its body size, it is often kept in vineyards and orchards where it doesn’t need a lot of space. It comes useful for farmers and vineyard keepers to keep these sheep and help them trim down the grasses in between the trees and the vines, which is a job that these sheep will do with pleasure.

These sheep don’t have horns. They’re excellent for those who don’t want sheep that require a lot of maintenance, because they’re quite self-sustainable and don’t need that much attention to survive.

The Babydoll Southdown sheep is also sometimes considered to be one of the prettiest sheep breeds, especially if the sheep are kept well and groomed properly. There are even beauty competitions for this sheep breed.

3. Mini Harlequin Sheep

Size: 23 inches
Bred For: Wool
Origin: United States

Mini harlequin sheep are interesting. They’re some of the most colorful and joyful sheep breeds you will find out there.

If you’re looking for a small sheep breed that’s easy to handle, then this sheep breed is a great choice.

One of the main reasons why this breed is quite easy to handle is not only its miniature size but also its lack of muscle. This makes it much easier for you to control them.

They’re known to be safer to work with than larger sheep breeds and are not very demanding, which is better for you if you’re not that experienced and you’re looking for a good entry-level breed.

This sheep is known for its medium-sized, fiber-type wool that is quite popular among those who like high-quality wool. They’re also very easy to handle and won’t cause that much trouble, especially if you set the right conditions for these sheep to thrive in.

Overall, the Mini Harlequin sheep will be some of the best smallest sheep that you can consider getting if you’re looking for smaller sheep breeds.

4. Ouessant Sheep

Size: 19 inches
Bred For: Wool
Origin: Brittany (France)

The Ouessant sheep is considered to be the smallest sheep breed in the world.

This sheep breed is named after the island it originates from – Ouessant, or Ushant, which is an island that belongs to France.

Ouessant sheep have, historically, been some of the most widely spread sheep not only in France but later also in the world. The reason why they have become so popular is their minuscule size and their easy-to-keep nature.

They’re very hardy and sturdy sheep and have the ability to survive harsh conditions.

In many ways, it is the perfect sheep breed for those who have never kept sheep. They’re easy to care for and don’t require much maintenance. Plus, they’re quite small and they don’t take up much space, which makes them perfect if you don’t have a lot of space and you’re looking for smaller sheep.

Ouessant sheep are primarily kept for their wool. They have thick and long wool of differing colors – black and white are by far the most common.

5. Shetland Sheep

Size: 22 inches
Bred For: Wool
Origin: Scotland

The Shetland sheep is a small and stocky sheep breed that is primarily known for its high-quality wool.

Historically, this is perhaps one of the most commonly used and owned sheep breeds in the world, but especially in England. In fact, this sheep breed has been known ever since the Iron Ages and even before that.

Initially, these sheep were spotted on the Shetland isles but were quickly exported to other areas in the world. Many people started desiring these sheep as they started to see the high-quality wool that they produced.

Nowadays, you’ll still find these sheep mainly on the Shetland Isles, but all over the world, too. They are used to harsh conditions and they can survive bad weather well, so they are great to keep and definitely a good breed to consider if you’re looking for an easy and small sheep breed to keep.

Interestingly, the Shetland pony is also one of the smallest horse breeds.


So, these are the most well-known small sheep breeds. The smallest sheep breed in the world is the Ouessant sheep, but there are several other sheep breeds that can also be characterized as small. These are some of the main breeds we’ve taken a look at, and they’re all great if you’re looking for a small sheep breed.

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