The Shropshire breed of domestic sheep originated from the hills of Shropshire, and North Staffordshire, England, during the 1840s. The breeders in the area used the local horned black-faced sheep and crossed them with a few breeds of white-faced sheep (Southdown, Cotswold, and Leicester). This produced a medium-sized polled (hornless) sheep that produced good wool and meat. In 1855 the first Shropshires were imported into the United States (Virginia). This breed is raised primarily for meat.
- Breed Name: Shropshire
- Other Name: None
- Breed Purpose: Meat, wool
- Breed Size: Medium to large
- Weight: Vary from 68 to 114 kg
- Horns: Polled
- Climate Tolerance: Native climates
- Color: White
- Rarity: Common
- Country/Place of Origin: United Kingdom
Shropshire Ram “Norwich” (3148), 1st Prize R.A.S.E. 1887, Bred by T.S. Minton. Artist – R. Whitford – 1887The Shropshire breed emerged in Britain in mid-1800s from improvements to the native heath sheep of its home county and north Staffordshire to become the supreme meat breed of the late nineteenth century.
In 1882 the Shropshire Sheep Breeders’ Association and Flock Book Society was established in the U.K. In the following year the society became the first to publish a Flock Book of its rams, making the Shropshire the oldest recorded sheep breed in the world. Over the years information collected earlier meant a number of retrospective entries were possible, and these began with a ram of 1836.
The Shropshire sheep is a medium to large sized breed with stylish carriage. It’s body is covered with fine and dense wool. It is a robust animal as indicated by width and depth of the chest, strength and formation of neck and by bold active movement. Fleece of these animals is of good length, dense and elastic to touch. The fleece is medium fine, free from black fiber and well crimped. Their skin is of a light cherry color, clear and free from dark spots.
Body of the Shropshire sheep is well fleshed, long, deep and symmetrical. Their shoulder is strong, smooth and blending well into body. Their head is short and broad between the ears and eyes. The head is bold and masculine in rams, without horns. Their face is straight or slightly dished. Their neck is short, strong and muscular, especially in rams.
Medium-sized; in breeding condition when fully matured, rams should weigh 180 to 240 lbs, and ewes should be 140 to 200 lbs. Fleece and Skin:
Of good length, dense, elastic to touch, medium fine, free from black fibre, well crimped, with evenness of texture throughout; scrotum of rams well covered with wool. The skin of a light cherry colour, clear and free from dark spots.
Well fleshed, long, deep and symmetrical. Well proportioned, with shoulders strong, smooth and blending well into body, well placed, fitting smoothly upon chest, which should be deep and wide; forearm well muscled; long, broad, straight level back; well sprung ribs; thick, wide and long loins well covered with firm flesh; hips wide and smooth. Rump long, hind quarters well developed, long and wide with dock well set on and twist deep and full, legs of mutton full, deep and well-muscled.
Head and Neck
Head, short, broad between the ears and eyes, bold and masculine in rams, without horns; straight or slightly dished face, broad muzzle, masculine on rams, feminine on ewes; white dense wool well covering the whole poll and cheeks and jaw; eyes bright and alert; colour of face and ears dark brown, grey nose hairs permissible. Neck short, strong and muscular (especially in rams), symmetrically blending head and shoulders in graceful outlines..
Short, alert and well set, not upright but perpendicular to head, moderate thickness, colour same as face and legs, cinnamon to dark brown or soft black. Rounded tips, wool covering outside ear.
The Shropshire is a medium sized sheep. They are active and alert with a free action. Shropshire sheep have a naturally clean soft black face, with a good covering of wool on the poll. No black fibres should be found in the fleece. Skin should be cherry pink, not blue.
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