Sheep Breeds

The members of the SSBA currently raise 15 different breeds of purebred sheep as well as crosses.
Contact one of our members in the Breed Directory if you are looking for breeding stock.

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Blackface ~ The Blackface sheep (also known as Scottish Blackface), is the most numerous breed in Britain accounting for over three million ewes, representing 16% of the British purebred ewe flock. The outstanding qualities of the breed are survivability, adaptability and versatility, with the ability to fit into any farming situation. They are one of the hardiest sheep breeds and are the backbone of the Scottish sheep industry.
The Scottish Blackface is at the summit of the pyramid of stratification of the British sheep industry. The hills produce a reservoir of females, which are drafted to marginal or upland farms either as ewe lambs or five or six year old ewes.  They are crossed with a Bluefaced Leicester ram to produce the ever popular Scotch Mule ewe, or a Border Leicester to produce the Greyface ewe.  Then crossed with a terminal sire such as a Texel or Suffolk, the Scotch Mule ewe produces a prime market lamb.

Canadian Arcott ~ one of the three breeds developed at the Agriculture Canada research station near Ottawa. Canadian Arcotts were the result of a cross breeding program that included Ile de France and Suffolk to produce a new breed with strong meat characteristics. The mature sheep is medium sized, short and thick. The lambs are fast growing, meaty animals that finish well for either the light or heavy lamb market. They produce an excellent carcass with good meat to bone ratio. The ewes are easy lambers and require low to medium maintenance. They adapt well to either pasture or confinement management systems. The rams make excellent terminal sires to improve the meat characteristics of many other breeds.

Clun Forest ~ easy keepers, hardy and able to fend for themselves under harsh conditions, while still producing good lambs. Clun Forest sheep are a maternal breed. The ewes generally produce twins, are good mothers and good milkers. They are most often used in crossbreeding programs with Suffolk and Hampshire rams to produce market lambs. Clun Forest rams can be used on first time ewes to downsize the lambs and reduce lambing problems.

Corriedale ~ A dual purpose meat and wool breed.  Their dense fleece is medium-fine and high yielding, with good length and softness, somewhat between medium wool and long wool. It is favored by hand spinners. Corriedale lambs produce good quality carcasses and have a high pelt value.

Dorper ~ has a characteristic black head (Dorper) or can be all white (White Dorper). Dorpers are a well-proportioned breed with heavy muscled hindquarters. Their skin covering is a mixture of hair and wool and it will shed without being sheared. The Dorper has a thick skin which is highly prized and protects the sheep under harsh climatic conditions. It is the most sought after sheepskin in the world. The Dorper and White Dorper have retained the positive characteristics of their founding breeds; the hardiness of the desert sheep and the prolific, good mothering ability of the Dorset. Both breeds contribute their ability to breed out of season. They are non-selective grazers and bred to adapt and flourish under severe conditions; which is proven by their success in the wide variety of climates in which they thrive today. They are also known for their increased natural resistance to parasites.

Dorset ~ best known for their ability to produce a lamb crop any time during the year.  Dorset ewes are prolific, heavy milkers that produce lambs with moderate growth and maturity that yield heavy muscled carcasses.  They are also easy to handle, versatile and hardy while not reliant on a high level of additional nutrition.  They are a breed that will adjust easily to either a grazing or confinement program.  They can be polled or horned.

Hampshire ~ a large, stocky sheep with excellent meat characteristics and high-yielding carcasses. The lambs are fast growing and serve both the light and heavy lamb markets. The ewes exhibit average prolificacy, are long lived and easy keepers. They will adapt to either pasture or confinement management. Rams used as terminal sires pass on the Hampshire loin and leg but the lambs can be large at birth and breeding to larger ewes is advised. The Hampshire breed is very docile, easy to manage and makes an ideal flock for smaller holdings.

Ile de France ~ selected for two primary purposes: as a terminal sire to produce vigorous, hardy, and fast growing lambs with superior carcass traits; and as an improver for crossbreeding with maternal breeds in a commercial flock. In this capacity they add hardiness, longevity, feed conversion and out of season breeding ability to a ewe flock. They have an excellent flocking instinct and are very successful when raised on pasture. Their high wool quality is an asset when crossed with range breeds.

Katahdin ~ a hair sheep, they are an easy-care, low-maintenance meat-type sheep that is naturally tolerent of climatic extremes and capable of high performance in a variety of environments. One of the most outstanding characteristics of the Katahdin is its natural resistance to internal parasites.

North Country Cheviot ~ an independent sheep, strong willed, vigorous and very hardy in harsh climates and rough pasture. They are best suited to pasture based systems where the management is not intensive. The ewes exhibit superior mothering instincts and deliver lambs easily. The lambs are vigorous at birth with excellent survivability. Although they only demonstrate an average rate of gain, the carcass quality is very good with an above average yield percentage. North Country rams are often used in crossbreeding programs to pass on the maternal strengths of the breed as well as to produce desirable carcasses.

Olde English Babydoll Southdown ~ The original bloodline of the English Southdowns are the “Baby Doll” Southdowns. They have been selected specifically for their smaller size of the original blood lines and a focus on wool and hobby breeding rather than commercial meat production.

Rideau Arcott ~ a maternal breed that offers high fertility, good milking and mothering characteristics, excellent body conformation and good growth rate. Rideaus are highly prolific ewes, reaching sexual maturity at 7-8 months of age. They excel in crossbreeding programs with terminal sire breeds which emphasize meat production. Due to the large number of multiple births, the Rideau does require additional attention to nutrition and lambing time management.

Southdown ~ a medium sized sheep, that produces a meaty carcass for the medium and light lamb markets. They are docile and adapt very well to confinement. Their size and quiet nature make the Southdown an excellent breed for starter flocks or 4-H projects for children. Southdown rams are widely used as terminal sires to put finish on crossbred lambs from other breeds. The Southdown possesses the ability to finish on pasture.

Suffolk ~ one of the dominant breeds in Canada. Suffolk lambs exceed all other breeds in rate of gain and respond well to confinement. They offer excellent economic returns and continue to dominate the heavy lamb market in Canada. The rams are widely used as terminal sires in commercial ewe flocks due to their ability to produce lambs with excellent growth and carcass traits. The Suffolk is however, a heavy feeder and maintaining a moderate size sheep under more controlled management systems has been advantageous in exploiting their meat traits in an economically efficient manner.

Texel ~ The Texel is a meat sheep that produces a lean, well muscled and high yielding carcass. Developed on the island of Texel off the coast of Holland in the early 1800’s, the breed was imported into Canada in the 1980’s. Since that time, the breed has grown to make a significant contribution to the country’s prime lamb trade. This has mainly been done through the use of Texel rams as terminal sires in commercial crossbreeding programs.
Although the ewes have only average prolificacy, they are very docile and easily managed. They adapt well to either pasture based or feedlot style management and show excellent feed conversion in all systems.