6 Native British Sheep Breeds

Britain has a lot of sheep. We’re a bit sheepish in that way and it seems to suit us. There are several different breeds of sheep across the world, but we have a few breeds that are native to Britain. If you’re not a farmer, you might not appreciate these sheep, but some of them are actually quite beautiful. Let’s meet them.



Hebridean – This breed has black fleece and is horned – they can have either one or two horns. The Hebridean is native to Scotland and they are very maternal. This breed is raised for meat.



Herdwick – The Herdwick breed is mainly raised on the Cumbrian hillsides of Northern England. They are native to the Lake District. They have a greyish coat and white faces. Herdwick provides strongly flavoured lamb and mutton and is also good for wool.

image by: commons.wikimedia.org



Kerry Hill – One of the breeds that we find beautiful. They are originally from Wales and have been around since the 19th century. The Kerry Hill breed has white fleece and black markings on their eyes, nose, and legs. This makes them a very distinctive breed. They don’t have horns and do well in any weather conditions.


Suffolk – The Suffolk breed is another distinctive breed. They have black faces and legs and white coats. They are mainly raised for meat and was crossbred from Norfolk Horn ewes and Southdown rams. This is one of the bigger sheep breeds that you will find in Britain.


Black Welsh Mountain – An easy breed to raise and they are also easy to lamb. They have black fleece and no wool on their face or legs. The males are horned, but the females are not. They offer very good milk yields.



Rough Fell – These sheep are also from Northern England. They have white coats and black faces with a white patch on the nose. They have spiral horns and are great breeders and are mainly raised for meat.

Some of these sheep breeds offer better coats for wool than others and some make better tasting meat. Farmers have a wide variety of native sheep to breed with and for some, it can be tough to decide which to start with.

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