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Five white sheep in a field
Appenninica sheep in Tuscany
Conservation status FAO (2007): not at risk[1]
Country of origin Italy
Standard MIPAAF
Use meat
  • Male: 78 kg[2]
  • Female: 56 kg[2]
  • Male: 77 cm[2]
  • Female: 69 cm[2]
Skin color pinkish
Wool color white
Face color white
Horn status hornless in both sexes

The Appenninica is a modern breed of sheep from the central Apennine mountains of Italy.[3] It is raised principally in Tuscany and Umbria, but also in Abruzzo, Emilia–Romagna, Lazio and the Marche. The breed was created in the 1970s by cross-breeding and subsequent selection of local breeds such as the Bariscianese, the Casentinese, the Chietina Varzese, the Pagliarola, the Perugina del piano, the Pomarancina, the Senese delle Creti and the Vissana with Bergamasca rams and with the French Ile-de-France and Berrichon du Cher, with the aim of increasing the meat yield. The breed was recognised in 1980[4] and a herdbook established in 1981.[5] Although this is a medium-coarse wool breed, it is raised primarily for meat.[4]


The Appenninica is hornless (polled) in both sexes; the ears are carried horizontally. The average weight for mature rams is 78 kg (170 lb); average height at the withers is 77 cm (30 in) and average length 79 cm (31 in).[2] When mature, ewes weigh on average 56 kg, are 69 cm at the withers and are 73 cm long.[2] Rams yield about 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) of wool while ewes provide 1.5 kg.[4] The wool has a diameter of 30 to 35 micrometres.

The breed is well adapted to the terrain of the Apennine Mountains, Emilia and Abruzzo regions of Italy. It is one of the seventeen autochthonous Italian sheep breeds for which a genealogical herdbook is kept by the Associazione Nazionale della Pastorizia, the Italian national association of sheep-breeders.[3] From 1993 to 2007, the population of the Appenninica declined from greater than 160,000 to 3438.[5] In 2013 total numbers for the breed were 9791.[6]


  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Caratteri tipici e indirizzi di miglioramento della razza Appenninica (in Italian). Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali. Accessed May 2014.
  3. ^ a b Le razze ovine e caprine in Italia (in Italian). Associazione Nazionale della Pastorizia: Ufficio centrale libri genealogici e registri anagrafici razze ovine e caprine. p. 17. Accessed September 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon (2008). Atlante delle razze autoctone: Bovini, equini, ovicaprini, suini allevati in Italia (in Italian). Milan: Edagricole. ISBN 9788850652594. p. 182–183.
  5. ^ a b Breed data sheet: Appenninica/Italy. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed September 2013.
  6. ^ Consistenze Provinciali della Razza 26 APPENNINICA Anno 2013 (in Italian). Associazione Nazionale della Pastorizia: Banca dati. Accessed September 2013.

Further reading[edit]