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Sheep Breeds and their Wool

The European Wool Catalogue

Our wool type sheep began dispersing across Europe some 5000 years ago. Since Roman times, we have been distinguishing between sheep producing coarse wool and fine wools. Since the 18th century differentiation of local sheep populations into breeds became more pronounced, resulting today in a very large number of locally adapted and transboundary breeds, each adapting to different environments and differing through locally driven breeding objectives.

With the area we cover in EWA we have more than 50 countries and states and within these many different regions with diverse environmental conditions. We have locally developed breeds and we have local adapted trans-boundary breeds like the Merion which also show differences in their shape size and often wool parameters.

So we are lunching an ambitious catalogue to record them all! It will be quite a task as we estimate that we have around 1200 different variations of sheep across Europe. Each country has its lists of registered breeds from which we have taken this data. The UK has probably the most diversity with more than 120 different sheep variants.

We are proposing a common formula for recording in the catalogue and its focused on the wool type and use locally and to be used as a reference source for wool producers and manufacturers of wool products.

So if you have time and have any knowledge to share please download the excel sheet fill it out with whatever information you do have and send it back to:

  We look for everyone to contribute who knows something about sheep and/or their local wools. The final data sheets will be by country, by breeds and will be compiled on a consensus basis and published on the website.