Talk:List of sheep breeds

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Ah - thanks for fixing that up. 'Breeds' alluded me when creating this page. --bquanta 07:30, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

sheep list[edit]

My book "A cabra & a ovelha no Brasil" shows 93 breeds in country. How can I insert some breeds of sheep and goat in Wikipedia list? Rinaldo dos Santos

Thanks for your contribution! To add, simply go to "Comprehensive list of domestic sheep breeds", click "edit" and see how the markup code works. Then add at leisure. For technical details and help, try Wikipedia:How to edit a page.
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Electric sheep[edit]

I have removed this.

Are breeds the same as species?[edit]

Are all the "sheep breeds used in farming" members of Ovis aries? Are all the others members of different species of Ovis? A few of these links seem to not go to the article about the sheep but rather the article about whatever their name derives from. For the articles that *are* about sheep, however, should a taxobox be used? Donama 05:45, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

A breed is not a species, and not usually even a subspecies, it is simply what it says, a version of a domesticated animal produced by selective breeding to fulfil a particular purpose. All breeds of dog for example are the same subspecies Canis lupis familiaris. AFAIK, all sheep breeds are O. aries, unless there is any evidence that any are derived from a different subspecies, to put a taxobox for each entry would appear to be redundant. jimfbleak 06:03, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
This article suggests, as one would expect, that the domestic sheep is of hybrid origins, which I think would make identification of valid subspecies of O. aries meaningless or impossible. On thinking about it that probaly applies to all domestic animals. jimfbleak 06:16, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Depending on how much they have been changed from the wild ancestors, domestic forms can be the same species (chicken), a subspecies (dog - although this is contentious), or a new species, like sheep. the latter is only likely where the ancestry involves more than one wild species. jimfbleak 08:03, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Then this article is a list of "domestic sheep". Note that mouflon is included in the list, apparently an evolutionary ancestor of O. aries, thus not a domestic sheep? I guess this doesn't matter. Just might be a good idea to note that the breeds of sheep include sheep of various species. Donama 08:21, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Mouflon must have been domesticated in the past to be the ancestral stock, and some of the existing populations are of feral origin. Don't know that it could be described as a sheep breed though, and I doubt if it is still domesticated. Jim

There has been some history of redomestication of feral stock. In any case, a "breed" is the zoological equivalent to a cultivar in botany. A man-made "subspeciesy" sort of thing that would not be stable as a gene/phene pool if let off human care. Dysmorodrepanis 21:36, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

The lead of this page claims that the Mouflon is a separate species, ovis orientalis, while the Mouflon article claims that it is the subspecies ovis aries orientalis. Which is right? Der Elbenkoenig (talk) 04:28, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Both, probably. Some authorities consider domestic sheep (and also cattle, horse, pig, dog and several others) to be separate species, others say they are subspecies of their wild ancestors. The taxonomic rules generally allow both (see for example [1]). The distinction between species and subspecies is really an arbitrary one. Richard New Forest (talk) 11:22, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Arbitrary? I thought the boundary between species was defined as organisms that can mate with each other to produce viable offspring? Der Elbenkoenig (talk) 04:25, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

Actually there are no domestic sheep[edit]

Actually there are no domestic sheep. All sheep are of the same species, which means the so-called wild sheep and the so-called domestic sheep can actually breed. Sheep, like horses, then, are actually born wild.

My most recent sheep article: Two Studies in Sheep Production: An Investigative Report --al-masakin00:15, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

If this is so, perhaps request a name change for domestic sheep back to sheep. Is it widely agreed this is the case? I thought Ovis aries had been domesticated since before recorded history. Does O. aries have a common name apart from "domestic sheep"? Donama 03:27, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
This position is not confirmed. DNA analysis has found domestic sheep to be a hybrid of wild species. Rmhermen 02:17, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Can it truly be right to say that all sheep are the same species? All Ovis species, including bighorn, dall, argali etc?. Seems quite heavy lumping, and is surely controversial at best. Anyway, even if domestic sheep were the same species as some or indeed all wild ones, this would not mean that "there are no domestic sheep". It would simply mean that one species includes both domestic and wild types (like cats, probably dogs, cattle, water buffalo, yak, horses, donkeys, house mice and many others). Domestic sheep are different from wild ones in very many ways, and few breeds could survive in the wild (many larger breeds have trouble enough surviving at all...).
Incidentally, the ability to produce fertile offspring under artificial conditions is a poor definition of a species – on that definition there is probably only one species of duck, one of finch, one of falcon etc. Wild species are separated by many mechanisms, some of which may be physiological, but often they are behavioural, geographical, or even down to the shape of their genitalia. A more meaningful definition is "readily interbreed under natural conditions" or something similar.
Having said all that, the question is still whether there should be a single page for the whole of whichever species domestic sheep do belong to, or one page for each of the wild sheep and one for the domestic one. I don't think it really matters how many species there are – there are several wild types (whether species, subspecies or what) and a domestic one, and each should have its own page. Apart from anything else, it would be very hard to fit them all onto one page.--Richard New Forest 13:51, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Missing important sheep[edit]

It's odd that important sheep currently used in British farming like the Scottish Blackface are missing from the "current use" list. Is this being written with an American slant? Adam Cuerden 22:28, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

That's a good question. But, I think any article has a "slant" of the person writing it. So, if Brits write an article, it is more liekly to have more information from the UK and the same for Americans, Germans, Irish, etc. Rboesen 13:23, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Still, sheep breeds in use are highly regionalised - it might be helpful to try and sort by country? Adam Cuerden 13:36, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
I like the idea of organizing the list by region of some sort. Whether the region is a country, hemisphere or other definition could prove to be an interesting debate. How would you solve the problem of the same species within several regions (no matter how they are defined)? If there are more sheep breeds yet to be definied here, please feel free to add them. Rboesen 14:36, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Mainly worked with White-face Woodland, and a collection of the ancient breeds (Soay, Hebridean, Shetland, etc). Suspect there are more out there, but I'd have to dig out my books. Adam Cuerden 15:58, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Anything you can add to the body of knowledge for sheep in general, I'm sure would be greatly appreciated. I have mainly worked with Icelandic sheep and other fine fibered sheep, except Merrino. They're too greasey. Rboesen 16:40, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
I happened upon this story about the increasing commercial use of Olde English Miniature Babydoll Southdown Sheep (colloquially, "Babydolls"). Is this another breed that should be added to the article? JamesMLane t c 04:11, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Babydoll Southdowns are mentioned in the Southdown articleJtmilesmmr (talk) 20:09, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Missing pages?[edit]

A fair number of these breed links no longer point to articles about sheep. I don't know how worthwhile the enterprise might be, but I suppose if someone were really bored and had lots of time on their hands, they could go and edit stuff appropriatey (assuming it's even possible, as I have no idea). 17:04, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

I don't think these pages no longer have articles but never had articles in the first place. I think it is worthwhile to at least get a stub out there and have people expand it. I have started several. However, as you can see, there are many out there that need more work. --BlindEagletalk~contribs 17:29, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Ancon (sheep)[edit]

AKA Otter sheep. A short-legged mutation for some time fancied as a breed, but nowadays generally dicouraged. "Otter" (or os it "Ancon") allele might be expressed in other breeds tho. Anyone want to write the article? From what I have seen, it's a nice story, but I can't seem to be able to patch it together. This is probably a good article for a British sheep expert or professional. So iof anyone's interested... many thanks in advance & let me know when it's finished. Dysmorodrepanis 21:39, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Databases of sheep breeds[edit]

The DAD-IS database [2] (Domestic Animal Diversity Information System) is a freely available database with statistical info on each breed. It might be possible to take advantage of the structure in this database to verify and increase this list and also to generate pages for each breed with relevant information, if that is desirable. EverGreg 21:42, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

List by use in farming[edit]

Sorry for the short edit summary, it was a mistake. What I meant to say was: that list of breeds "currently used in farming" was unverified and extremely inaccurate. I think it's better to remove it rather than just confuse people. VanTucky 05:08, 7 May 2008 (UTC)


I just converted the A's to a Wikitable. Feel free to change, modify or completely trash it. If I don't see any comments otherwise in the next few days, I'll go ahead and start converting the rest of the list of sheep. BlindEagletalk~contribs 16:29, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

I like it. Dukemeiser (talk) 22:37, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Me too, that's good work. Steven Walling (talk) 23:11, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Thank you. I've added wikitables to the G's. I have tried to add standard widths but can't get it to work. I end with the column heading text correct but the columns do not scale down. If you know how to correct this, please feel free to modify the wikitables or point me in the right direction. BlindEagletalk~contribs 21:40, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Finished the wikitables and added standard widths. Look at each table and note that even though the widths are the same the appearance of each table appears to be different. Any ideas? BlindEagletalk~contribs 22:00, 9 September 2009 (UTC)


I don't think that these have been mentioned. See: Cgoodwin (talk) 03:14, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the suggestion. I added them to the list and created a stub. Steven Walling 07:29, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

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The list was not "comprehensive"[edit]

The section header was "Comprehensive list of domestic sheep breeds" which implies that this is a full and complete list of all breeds. That did not seem true - particular as a source for the claim was not cited. The list has 368 breeds.

Google: how many breeds of sheep are there says "According to some estimates, there are more than 1,000 breeds of sheep worldwide and more than 50 in the United States."

I changed the section title to be "Domestic sheep breeds". --Marc Kupper|talk 23:59, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Should this be organized by country?[edit]

I think it'd be more useful that way. THoughts? (talk) 19:00, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

This page is specific about breeds and therefore in alphabetic order by breed name. It may be worthwhile for you to start a new page Sheep Breeds by Origin or something similar. BlindEagletalk~contribs

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