It is common knowledge that the world always perceives sheep as ruminant animals with thick and fluffy white fleece. But believe it or not, they also come in mixed colors, which can be black and white.
Yes, you heard that right; black and white sheep breeds do exist. In fact, they are quite popular due to their unique physical colors.
You can find most of these breeds being raised for wool, meat, and milk production, or simply as pets. With that being said, these are the 15 black and white sheep breeds we will introduce you to in this article.
1. Kerry Hill Sheep
Kerry Hill sheep originated in the county of Powys, Wales. Welsh people would called them Dafad Brianeu Ceri.
They are medium-sized sheep with sturdy bodies and dense white fleece. This breed is well-known for their two-tone colors and markings.
They have a black-and-white face, with black markings around the eyes, ears, mouth, and irregular black spots on their legs.
Also, both male (rams) and female (ewes) sheep of this breed don’t have horns. Kerry Hill sheep are mainly raised for their meat.
2. Dorper Sheep
This breed originated in South Africa. They were created by the South African Department of Agriculture by crossing two different breeds; the Blackhead Persian sheep and the Dorset sheep. Dorpers are one of the most common sheep in America.
Due to their high fertility rate, they are raised mainly for meat production. This breed possess a distinctive colors on their body. Their base color is white, which covers the entire body, while their head and face are mostly black.
3. Valais Blacknose Sheep
Being one of the cutest sheep breeds out there, Valais Blacknose sheep would surely be one of the best pet choices of any sheep lover.
This breed originated in the Valais region of Switzerland. They generally have a black face (this includes their eyes, nose, and ears) and legs (including knees and ankles).
Their fleece is mainly white in color. This mountain sheep breed also has large spiraled horns and they are mainly raised for meat and wool.
4. Norfolk Horn Sheep
The Norfolk Horn sheep is one of the oldest sheep breeds. It originated in Norfolk, England.
Their origin can be traced back to the ancient Saxon black-faced sheep who lived in Northern Europe centuries ago. These medium-sized sheep possess thick spiraled horns and a long body.
While most of their body and thick fleece are white, they have a unique black face and sturdy black legs. Aside from being excellent grazers and foragers, Norfolk Horn sheep are mainly raised for their meat.
5. Hampshire Sheep
The Hampshire sheep, also known as the Hampshire Down sheep, is native to the United Kingdom.
Originating around 1829 in Hampshire County, England, this breed was developed by crossing the Southdown breed with the Old Hampshire breeds like the Berkshire Notts and the Wiltshire Horns. These large-sized, polled sheep possess a sturdy, strong body, and are adaptable.
The Hampshire sheep’s base color is white. But they have black spots and markings on their face, which are irregular in shape. Some of these spots may also be found on their legs. Also, this sheep is mainly raised for meat production.
6. Rough Fell Sheep
Rough Fell sheep are one of the common sheep breeds that native to England. This docile sheep can be found mostly on moorland farms and fells, and they adapt well to the harsh and rough terrains of the mountains around Northern England.
These large-sized sheep possess a sturdy, strong body, and thick white fleece. Their base color is white, which covers almost the entire body.
They also have black spots and markings on their head, face, and legs. This may vary from just small spots to large irregular patches. Being one of the largest mountain sheep in the United Kingdom, they are mainly raised for meat and wool production.
7. Welsh Mountain Badger Face Sheep
This sheep breed originated from the ancient Welsh breed that were commonly found in the Welsh Mountains.
They are also known by other names like Defaid Idloes, Badger Faced Welsh Mountain, and Welsh Badger Faced. They can be categorized into two major types; the Torddu (which means black belly) and the Torwen (white belly).
The Torddu possess a a white body and unique striped markings around their eyes that extend down to their jaw and belly.
On the other hand, the Torwen’s base color is black with white underbelly and striped markings around their eyes and jaw. Rams of this breed have dark spiralled horns while the ewes are mostly polled (hornless).
Welsh Mountain Badger Face Sheep are being raised mainly for meat production. In some cases, their fleece could also be turned into a high-quality wool.
8. Najdi Sheep
The Najdi sheep originated in Saudi Arabia. This breed is native to the region of Arabian Peninsula and considered as one of the unique Arabic sheep breeds. They are being recognized in Saudi ‘sheep beauty pageants’ as one of the most beautiful sheep breeds.
Najdi sheep is a domestic, large-sized sheep with long and shaggy black coat. Most of this breed possess a white face, black body.
Some white hair could also be found on their legs and tails. Najdi sheep are raised for many purposes like milk, meat, and their wool. They are extremely resistant to hot and dry environment.
9. Blackhead Persian Sheep
Also known as the Swatkoppersie, this sheep originated in South Africa. They are a direct descendant of the Somali sheep.
Like its name, Blackhead Persian sheep is one of the sheep breeds with black head and white body. These two colors separate around their neck, resembling a seam.
They also have a compact body, short legs, and a fat rump. This sheep are mainly raised for meat production. Blackhead Persian sheep is one of the hair sheep breeds and they don’t grow wool.
10. Jacob Sheep
The Jacob Sheep originated in the Middle East around 3000 years ago. Today, this breed is well-known and can be found in other parts of the world including first-world countries like the United States and England. Jacob sheep possess distinctive, long, dark horns, sturdy bodies, and small ears.
They have a white body with random irregular black patches around their eyes, some parts of their body, and legs.
Jacob sheep are quite unique due to their genetic factor of being a ‘polycerate’ breed. This means that they can grow multiple horns on their head.
Breeders of these sheep tout their health and ease of feeding. They are mainly raised for many purposes like meat, wool, pelt production, as well as breeding stock.
11. Romanov Sheep
Romanov sheep are native to the region of Volga River Valley located northeast of Moscow. This breed is a medium-sized sheep with a sturdy body and thick fleece. Some of them are born black while others are white. As they grow, this color turns to whitish-gray.
They also have black legs and faces, with irregular white patches on their head.
Due to their ability of growing quickly, Romanov sheep are one of the sheep breeds that are favored by breeders and farmers. They thrive in colder climates and are raised mainly for meat and wool production.
12. Scottish Blackface Sheep
Scottish Blackface sheep originated in the border area between England and Scotland.
Being one of the most common sheep in the United Kingdom, they are also known by other names like Kerry, Blackfaced Highland, Linton, Scottish Highland, Scotch Horn, and Scotch Blackface.
This breed possesses a thick white fleece, black face, and irregular black spots and patches on their legs.
One of their distinctive physical traits is their thick spiraled horns that are larger than any other sheep breeds. Today, these sheep are being raised for their meat and wool.
13. Suffolk Sheep
Suffolk sheep are native to the United Kingdom. They were developed by crossing Southdown rams and Norfolk Horned ewes.
In 1810, they were first recognized as a breed, but in 1886, the English Suffolk society began to take interest in breeding them and providing registry service.
Suffolk sheep possess a large body with a sturdy, muscular frame. They have a white body, with black face and legs.
Both rams and ewes of this breed are horned. Also, they are raised mainly for meat and wool production.
14. Swaledale Sheep
This domestic sheep breed originated in the United Kingdom. They can be found mostly around the mountainous areas of England.
They were named after the Yorkshire valley of Swaledale. Swaledale sheep possess a white body and a black face with distinctive white markings around their eyes.
Some of these markings can also be found on their legs. Their fleece is generally thick and coarse.
This hardy breed is favored by farmers and breeders due to its ability to adapt to the cold and harsh environments in any remote location. They are raised mainly for meat and their thick fleece that is spun into high-quality wool.
15. German Blackhead Mutton Sheep
Also known as the German Hampshire, Improved Blackfaced Mutton, Teutoburg, and Czarnoglowka, this polled, medium-sized sheep originated on the North sea coast of Germany.
German Blackhead mutton sheep is a fast-growing mutton sheep with a wide body, sturdy neck, and well-built legs.
They possess a white body with black patches and markings on their face, ears, head, and legs. They also grow wool that protects them from the wet climate and environment. This breed is mainly raised for its meat and wool.
Black and white sheep breeds are certainly unique due to their genetic diversity. Unlike other black sheep breeds that carry recessive genes, they rarely carry the same genes.
That is why the mix of two different colors on their body makes them beautiful and certainly eye-catching to anyone that loves beautiful sheep. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Kerry Hill Sheep
Valais Blacknose Sheep
Norfolk Horn Sheep
Rough Fell Sheep
Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep
Blackhead Persian Sheep
Scottish Blackface Sheep
German Blackhead Mutton Sheep