Wensleydale Sheep

What is the history of Wensleydale Sheep?

The Wensleydale is a British breed of domestic sheep, recognised as a rare breed. It is named for the Wensleydale region of North Yorkshire, in the north of England, where it was bred in the early nineteenth century by cross-breeding a Dishley Leicester ram named ‘Bluecap’.

The first sire was born in 1839 and the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders Association established in 1890.

The Wensleydale contributed to the development of the Blue-faced Leicester.

What are the characteristics of Wensleydale Sheep?

The Wensleydale is a large long-wool sheep.

The Wensleydale has a blue head, ears and legs that are virtually indiscernible beneath its high quality, white fleece. There is a separate section in the breed register for black Wensleydales, which come in colours ranging from jet black through to a silver grey.

They are naturally polled and have a tuft of long wool on top of the head which is not typically shorn (for aesthetic purposes).

Wool from this breed is acknowledged as the finest lustre long wool in the world. The fleece from a purebred sheep is considered kemp-free and curled or purled on out to the end. Micron count 33-35 Staple length 8-12 inches Yearling Fleece Weight 5 -9kg.

What is the weight of mature Wensleydale Sheep?

Wensleydale rams weigh about 135 kg and Wensleydale ewes about 100-110 kg.

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