Skudde sheep

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Skudde sheep

Skudde are nordic, short-tailed heather sheep. They originally from East Prussia and the Baltic States. However, today only a few small herds can be found in these areas.

The original home area of the Skudde sheep is East Prussia, the Swiss alps and the Baltic States. The Skudde is very rare today. It belongs to the family of the ‘mischwolligen’ or ‘heath’ sheep. There is strong evidence to suggest it was in existence during the Iron Age and they are possibly direct descendents of the Stone Age sheep. They are sometimes known as the ‘sheep of the Vikings’ and would have been taken by the Vikings on their travels. The Skudde is culturally important and is also genetically of immense value as they are one of the purest breeds still in existence.

  • Breed Name: Skudde
  • Other Name: Skudden
  • Breed Purpose: Meat, felting and landscape grazing
  • Breed Size: Small to medium
  • Weight: Mature rams weight between 35 and 50 kg, and weight of the mature ewes vary from 25 to 40 kg
  • Horns: Rams have large spiral horns, and the ewes may be polled
  • Climate Tolerance: Native climates
  • Color: Black, brown, gray and white
  • Rarity: Common
  • Country/Place of Origin: Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Lithunia, Switzerland


Skudde sheep have an imposing snail horn. The ewes arernhornless or carry horn stumps. In individual cases, it occurs that ewes carryrnchamois-like “hornlets.” They are slender, rams weight between 35 and 50 kgrn(77-110 lbs), and ewes weigh from 25 to 40 kg (55-88 lbs).


Skuddes are not kept for their meat. They are suited for pasturing more barren areas. The meat is held to be a delicacy in circles of connoisseures. Skuddes come into heat aseasonally. Lambs are born at any time of the year. As a rule three lambings are possible in two years.


The Alliance of Swiss Skudde Breeders has set as its goal to maintain Skuddes in their original form and not to breed in any other types so that the valuable characteristics of the Skudde are not lost.


Skudde sheep is a small to medium sized animal. The color of these animals can vary, but most common colors are brown, black, gray and white. Nowadays the white variety has small pigment spots on the head. They have fine wool fibers, dispersed with short and course fiber.

Their body is relatively long and their tail is short. Lambs usually will have dark red or rust colored markings on their nape of their neck and legs, and this coloring disappears in adults. Most noticeable characteristics of the rams is the imposing snail horn. And the ewes are usually hornless or carry horn stumps.

Skudde sheep images

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