Appenninica sheep in Tuscany
|Conservation status||FAO (2007): not at risk|
|Country of origin||Italy|
|Horn status||hornless in both sexes|
The Appenninica is a modern breed of sheep from the central Apennine mountains of Italy. 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 and a herdbook established in 1981. Although this is a medium-coarse wool breed, it is raised primarily for meat.
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). When mature, ewes weigh on average 56 kg, are 69 cm at the withers and are 73 cm long. Rams yield about 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) of wool while ewes provide 1.5 kg. 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. From 1993 to 2007, the population of the Appenninica declined from greater than 160,000 to 3438. In 2013 total numbers for the breed were 9791.
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