Nera di Arbus

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Nera di Arbus
Other names Pecora Nera di Arbus
Country of origin Italy
Distribution Sardinia
Use Dual-purpose, primarily for milk
  • Male: 46 kg
  • Female: 35 kg
  • Male: 65 cm
  • Female: 58 cm
Wool color black
Face color black
horned; ear-lobes small or absent

The Nera di Arbus, more fully Pecora Nera di Arbus ("black sheep of Arbus"), is a breed of small domestic sheep indigenous to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Italy.[1][2] It takes its name from the comune of Arbus, in the province of Medio Campidano, in the south-western part of the island. It is raised in the provinces of Cagliari, Nuoro, Oristano and Sassari. The breed achieved official recognition in 2008.[3]

The Nera di Arbus 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.[4] In 2008, the first year of registration, 233 head were registered in the herdbook; in 2013 the total number recorded was 4118.[5]

The milk yield of the Nera di Arbus, over and above that taken by the lambs, averages 50 litres in 100 days for primiparous ewes, and 88–98 l in 180 days for pluriparous ones. The milk averages 6.5% fat and 5.6% protein. Lambs weigh 9.5–9.8 kg at 30 days. Rams yield about 2 kg of wool, ewes about 1.2 kg; the wool is of coarse quality.[4] It is used to make orbace, a coarse hand-woven cloth, from which two traditional Sardinian garments are made: sa mastrucca, the overcoat worn by shepherds; and su sacu, a heavy waterproof blanket.[2]


  1. ^ Breed data sheet: Nera di Arbus/Italy. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed February 2014.
  2. ^ a b Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon (2008). Atlante delle razze autoctone: Bovini, equini, ovicaprini, suini allevati in Italia (in Italian). Milan: Edagricole. ISBN 9788850652594. p. 256–257.
  3. ^ [s.n.] (15 March 2008). La pecora nera ha il pedigree (in Italian). Regione Autonoma della Sardegna. Accessed February 2014.
  4. ^ a b La Pecora Nera di Arbus: Standard della razza (in Italian). Associazione Nazionale della Pastorizia: Ufficio centrale libri genealogici e registri anagrafici razze ovine e caprine. Accessed February 2014.
  5. ^ Consistenze Provinciali della Razza NA Nera di Arbus Anno 2013 (in Italian). Associazione Nazionale della Pastorizia: Banca dati. Accessed February 2014.