Sheep shagger

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Sheep-shagger (also spelt sheepshagger or sheep shagger) is a derogatory term, most often used to refer to Welsh people implying that the subject has sex with sheep.[1] In a court case in Britain, the use of the term directed at a Welsh person was ruled to be a "racially aggravating" factor in a disorderly conduct offence.[2]


The use of the term sheep-shagger to refer to a Welsh person has arisen from the prevalence of sheep and sheep farming in Wales.[1] It is often viewed as offensive in Wales,[citation needed] for the same reason[3][4] as it is in South Africa to refer to Australians.[5] In response to complaints over the use of phrase, in an Australian television advertisement for Toyota, the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority determined the phrase was not viewed as offensive by the majority of New Zealanders.[6][7]


At football matches in England, supporters of Welsh teams as well as Welsh players are often called sheep shaggers in football chants from opposing fans.[8][9][10] It is also used in Scotland to refer to supporters of Aberdeen.[11] In 2001, Cardiff City signed English player Spencer Prior and jokingly included a contract clause that he would be obliged "to have a physical liaison with a sheep", in response to their fans being called sheep shaggers.[10]

The name "Sheep Shaggers" has been used for at least two football fanzines – those for Bedford Town and for football in Western England.[12]

Court case[edit]

In Prestatyn, Wales, the phrase was the subject of a 2013 court case, after Anthony Taaffe of Bolton, Greater Manchester, England, a guest at a holiday park in Gronant, called an off-duty policeman and security staff "a bunch of sheep-shaggers". Taaffe claimed, in his defence, that the phrase was "a term for people living in the countryside". He also admitted a second similar offence, in which he called a police officer, at the custody unit to which he had been taken, a "Welsh sheep shagger". Taaffe was fined £150 after he admitted racially aggravated disorderly behaviour.[2][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Partridge, Eric (2006). The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: J-Z. Taylor & Francis: Burlington Publishing. p. 1712. ISBN 041525938X.
  2. ^ a b "Man fined for racism after Welsh sheep slur". The Daily Telegraph. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Australia's triumph inspires respect but no love after our boys antics". Fox Sports. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Time's running out for 'those' sheep jokes". Brisbane Times. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  5. ^ Sarah Britten. "The Art of the South African Insult". Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Lions Diary". The Sunday Herald  – via HighBeam (subscription required). 10 July 2005. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 'Their judgment was another setback for Donald. It is official: in New Zealand, the term "sheep shagger" is not offensive. You may speculate just why that might be.'
  7. ^ "'Sheep shagger' not offensive says ad board". The New Zealand Herald. 25 August 2005. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  8. ^ Toby Young. "I Love Everything About Supporting QPR Except Watching Them Play". Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Aussies Fall Short on Race". 20 June 2010. Archived from the original on 10 September 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ a b "Cardiff City ace in "sheep shagging" contract". The Register. 29 June 2001. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Aberdeen football fans: The 'glory hunter', the 'true fan' and the motivational role of the'12th man'" (pdf). St. Andrew's University. Retrieved 5 April 2016. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)[clarification needed]
  12. ^ Steve Redhead (2002). "Post-Fandom and the Millennial Blues: The Transformation of Soccer Culture". Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  13. ^ Mitchell, David (13 March 2014). "'Welsh sheep-shagger'? I can hardly think of a less hurtful remark". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2016.

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