Oxford Down

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Oxford Down sheep at a livestock show

The Oxford Down is an English breed of domestic sheep developed in the 1830s by crossing the Cotswold, Hampshire and South Down breeds,[1] 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 fibre 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 Breed data sheet: Oxford Down/United Kingdom. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed September 2015.
  2. ^ a b "The OXFORD: ORIGIN AND HISTORY". New Zealand Sheepbreeders' Association. Retrieved 17 June 2006.
  3. ^ "The OXFORD: A Rare Breed of British Origin". Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand Incorporated. Retrieved 17 June 2006.
  4. ^ "Oxford". Breeds of Livestock. Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Animal Science. Retrieved 2009. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]

Media related to Oxford Down at Wikimedia Commons