It can be said that, for quite some time, the list of domesticable animals has grown a lot. However, “ classic ” animals have not stopped being raised . One of the best known to connoisseurs of the subject are sheep . Let’s now see something about them.


What is a sheep?

Sheep is understood to be any mammalian animal that includes sheep and their relatives. They are quadruped animals, with ungulate characteristics, with a tendency to rumination and that are usually the object of livestock . The name usually means: “cattle that have wool.”

  • Sheep characteristics
  • Source
  • Evolution
  • Types of sheep
  • Habitat
  • Sheep feeding
  • Livestock
  • Diseases
  • Importance
  • Examples of sheep

Sheep characteristics

It is a group of quadruped mammals that are usually for domestic use. They are one of the oldest domestic animals, being sought after for their skins, wool, meat and milk.


Its upbringing is one of the most active in the world. In a recent statistic, it was estimated that there are about 1200 million creatures of this type in the world . China and Australia are the main producers.

They are animals, as said, hoofed quadrupeds . This means that your walking is done with the support of the tips of your fingers. These, in general , are covered with solid hooves.

Their body is usually covered with thick, curly and very soft fur . This is the so-called wool . One could say that it is this, and not another, the characteristic that most distinguishes them from other animals.

The common thing is that the male of the sheep is called “ram”, while the female is called ” sheep “. The younger ones, on the other hand, are called ” lambs .”


We know that the word sheep is actually something referring to ” belonging to sheep .” All this finds part of the word ovis , which is used historically to refer to all sheep and other related species.


Many experts have said that the evolutionary origin of sheep is somewhat unclear. However, common belief is that contemporary sheep have their ancestors in wild mouflon . One of the most common hypotheses is that different wild mouflon were crossed in the past, giving rise to domestic sheep as they are known today. All this, however, is still something that has not been fully verified.

Types of sheep

The types of sheep are differentiated thanks to the utility achieved through their breeding. Among the types of sheep that are known today are:

Meat breeds

They are distinguished for being the largest and heaviest breeds, thus generating the greatest amount of meat. Among these we have the Suffolk, the Hampshire Down, the Finnsheep and the Texel.

Wool breeds

They have a good wool production, reaching between 5 and 8 kilograms. We have here the Australian and Precocious Merino as examples.

Milk breeds

They are the sheep that have the highest milk production. They are especially in demand in Asia and Europe . Among these are the Sheep Assaf, the Awassi, the East Friesian, among some others.


Although it is common to find domestic sheep within similar environments ( farms, pens, etc. ), those found in the wild can be in almost any environment. This implies that we find them in deserts , mountains and very cold areas. They can be found mainly in New Zealand, South Africa, the USA, etc.

Sheep feeding

They are herbivorous animals . Their diet is normally based on low grass and all the herbs and plants that they find within reach. As they are ruminants, just as cows are, it is expected that they present a complex digestive system adapted to their needs.


It is known that sheep farming is a very old practice, and that the objective of this has always been the exploitation of the hides , wool , meat and milk produced by sheep. They are raised in pens in herds, being fed with grass and other vegetables that offer them the necessary nutrients to survive. With these products (milk, meat and wool), derivatives such as lamb meat, sheep’s milk and the wool necessary for the manufacture of various textiles are obtained. The countries where the highest production of these derivatives is seen are China and New Zealand.


Among the diseases that can put the health of sheep at risk, we have the following list:

  • Bloating
  • Pregnancy Toxemia.
  • Hypocalcemia
  • Sheep brucellosis.
  • Infectious Necrotic Hepatitis.
  • Salmonellosis.
  • Ovine Epidymitis.
  • Brucellosis in Sheep.


The importance of sheep in human life is invaluable. The presence of sheep has always been in people’s lives, and their representation can even be seen in much of popular culture . Shepherd life is always represented, at least in the West, in the presence of sheep. In the same way, the Abrahamic religions make use of the image of these animals to represent many of their ideas. Its importance is, therefore, beyond the products provided by its breeding and exploitation . They are an important cultural element, or at least in Western culture.

Examples of sheep

Among the best known breeds of sheep, we have the following:

  • Dorset Horn.
  • Southdown.
  • Dorper.
  • English Leicester.
  • Hampshire.
  • Rambouillet.
  • Romney.
  • Shropshire.
  • Katahdin sheep.
  • Soay sheep.
  • Scottish Black-faced Sheep.
  • Navajo-Churro Sheep.
  • Shetland.
  • Black Sheep of the Mountains of Wales.
  • Sheep of the Forest of Clun.
  • Saint Croix sheep.
  • Romanov sheep.
  • Boreray.

Leave a Comment