The Racka (pronounced //) or Hortobágy Racka Sheep (Ovis aries strepsiceros hungaricus) is a breed of sheep known for its unusual spiral-shaped horns, resembling those of the wild markhor. These unique appendages are unlike any other domestic sheep horns, and may grow up to 2.0 ft (0.61 m) long. The smallest standard length is 20 in (51 cm) for rams and 12–15 in (30–38 cm) for ewes.
The Hungarian Racka sheep (Ovis aries strepsiceros hungaricus) - formerly Hortobágy racka sheep - is an old Hungarian sheep breed which, according to some historians, has been a companion of Hungarians since the conquest of the Carpathian basin(Honfoglalás - 896). Now the largest stocks are found in the Hortobágy steppes of Hungary and to a lesser extent in Caras Severin, Romania. Due to its unique features, appealing for show it has recently been exported in growing numbers to United Kingdom, United States and France, while in its home range interest remains limited. It is a hardy, multi-purpose breed used for milking, wool and meat. Their wool is long and coarse, and appears in two general types: a cream wool with light brown faces and legs, and a black variation. Ewes weigh around 88 lb (40 kg), and rams 132 lb (60 kg).
The breed's unique appearance and quiet disposition would make it a desirable animal for hobby situations.
This breed is unique with both sexes possessing long spiral shaped horns. The cork-screw horns protrude almost straight upward from the top of the head.
There are two major color patterns with the Racka. The most common color is brown wool covering the heads and legs with the fiber varying in color from dark brown to light brown and white. Individuals can also be solid black. The wool tips on the black-colored sheep fades to a reddish black with exposure to sunlight and as they get older, the points of the fiber turns gray. The fiber diameter varies within this breed and generally is found to be 12 to 40 micrometres with a yield of 38% to 65%. Staple length is approximately 30 cm (12 in). Fleece weight must be at least 3 kg (6.6 lb) for rams. The softness and crimp of the wool would indicate its interest with hand spinners.
The minimum acceptable mature body weight for ewes is 40 kg (88 lb) and for rams 60 kg (130 lb). The rams average 72 cm (28 in) in height.
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