Arapawa sheep

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Arapawa ram
Conservation statusRare
Country of originNew Zealand
DistributionArapaoa island
Wool colorBlack, white
Face colorBlack, white
Horn statusRams are horned and ewes are polled (hornless)

The Arapawa Sheep is a breed of feral sheep found primarily on Arapaoa Island in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, where they have probably been isolated since they were introduced in 1867.[1] Although there are many theories of how the sheep arrived, it is generally accepted that they are descendants of Merino strains from Australia.[2] The New Zealand Rare Breeds Conservation Society classifies this breed as "rare".[1] This breed is raised primarily for wool.[3]


Ewes have no horns, but rams have long spiral horns that often measure over 1 metre (3 ft).[1][2] The fiber is of Merino-like fineness.[4]

Due to living in a rather hostile and very steep terrain, this breed often looks hunched over as they carry their head and tail down most often. They have a light build and long legs making them a rather active breed. The head and face are narrow and clear while the ears are slender. Most often, the Arapawa displays all black. However, quite often, white points are displayed. On rare occasions, an all-white sheep can be observed. "Cocktail" Arapawas are those that are white spotted.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Arapawa Sheep A Rare Breed of New Zealand Origin". Rare Breeds Conservation Society. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
  2. ^ a b c "Arapawa Island". Breeds of Livestock. Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Animal Science. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
  3. ^ "Arapawa Island/New Zealand". Breed data sheet. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
  4. ^ "Arapawa (Arapawa Island)". Sheep Breeds A - Ba. Retrieved 2009-05-13.