Oxford sheep

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Oxford Down sheep at a livestock show

Oxford sheep (also known as Oxford Down)[1] is an English breed developed in the 1830s by crossing the Cotswold with a forerunner of the Hampshire, and using the resulting cross-breeds to form the basis of the present-day breed.[2] This breed is primarily raised for meat.[1]

The Oxford is relatively large-bodied, hornless, has a brown/black face and legs covered in white wool, and has a short fleece.[3] It produces the heaviest fleece of any of the Down breeds. The breed's capacity to produce a large, meaty carcase for further processing has stimulated interest from the meat industry, and it also grows the most wool of any of the terminal sire breeds.[2]


Mature weights for rams range from 250 to 300 lb (110 to 140 kg), ewes are smaller weighing between 200 to 250 lb (91 to 113 kg). Fleeces from mature ewes weigh between 8 to 12 lb (3.6 to 5.4 kg) with a fiber diameter of 30.0 to 34.5 micrometres and a numerical count of 46 to 50. The staple length of the fleece ranges from 3 to 5 in (7.6 to 12.7 cm) and has a yield of 50 to 62%.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Oxford Down/United Kingdom". Breed Data Sheet. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  2. ^ a b "The OXFORD: ORIGIN AND HISTORY". New Zealand Sheepbreeders' Association. Retrieved 2006-06-17. 
  3. ^ "The OXFORD:A Rare Breed of British Origin". Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand Incorporated. Retrieved 2006-06-17. 
  4. ^ "Oxford". Breeds of Livestock. Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Animal Science. Retrieved 2009. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Oxford Down at Wikimedia Commons