Scottish blackface sheep

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Scottish blackface sheep

The Scottish Blackface is the most common breed of domestic sheep in the United Kingdom. This tough and adaptable breed is often found in the more exposed locations, such as the Scottish Highlands or roaming on the moors of Dartmoor. It is also known as Blackfaced Highland, Kerry, Linton, Scottish Mountain, Scottish Highland, Scotch Blackface and Scotch Horn.

Blackfaces are horned in both sexes, and as their name suggests, they usually have a black face (but sometimes with white markings), and black legs. This breed is primarily raised for meat.


  • Breed Name: Scottish Blackface
  • Other Name: Also Known by some other names such as Kerry, Linton, Blackfaced Highland, Scottish Mountain, Scotch Blackface, Scotch Horn and Scottish Highland.
  • Breed Purpose: Meat
  • Breed Size: Medium to large
  • Horns: Yes, both rams and ewes are horned
  • Climate Tolerance: All climates
  • Color: White
  • Rarity: Common
  • Country/Place of Origin: Scotland


Today the Blackface is numerically, and probably economically, one of the most important in the United Kingdom.  In 1989 their wool accounted for nearly 40% of the total wool production of Scotland and one twelfth the wool production of the United Kingdom.

The fleece that the Scottish Blackface has today is the result of selective breeding since medieval times from a short coarse wooled ancestor.  The fleece of the modern Scottish Blackface weighs from 1.75 to 3 kg with a staple length of 15 to 30 cm.


An old and primitive breed, the Scottish Blackface may have originated in the border areas between Scotland and England. As far back as the 12th Century, monastery records show that monks raised horned, “dun-faced” sheep to provide wool for their garments; these were most likely the predecessors of today’s Scottish Blackface. In 1503, James the IV of Scotland established a flock of some 5,000 Scotties in Ettrick Forest, and during the 17th and 18th Centuries the breed went by the name of Linton sheep.

By the 19th century, Scottish Blackface sheep had radiated into the highlands, Ireland, and over to the United States. Today, this hardy breed makes up a good chunk of Britain’s sheep population, although it remains a minor breed in the United States.


Scottish Blackface sheep is a medium to large sized animal with very beautiful appearance. As the name suggests, face of of these animals are black, sometimes with white markings. Their legs are black in color and relatively shorter.


The vast majority are found in Scotland. 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 in the country and are the backbone of the Scottish sheep industry.

Scottish blackface sheep for sale

Image by Michaela Wenzler from Pixabay

Scottish blackface sheep images

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