Miniature sheep breeds are undeniably cute, but beyond that, they are easy to handle and docile – features of an ideal pet – so it isn’t surprising that a lot of people opt for mini sheep breeds as pets over the regular-sized versions.
If you don’t know much about miniature sheep breeds, you are on the right page. In this article, we answer some questions about mini sheep. We also discuss 5 of the best small/miniature sheep breeds.
Are There Such Things as Miniature Sheep?
There are few sheep breeds with a smaller average size range than the average size of other breeds. They are referred to a miniature sheep.
The foremost amongst miniature sheep is the Babydoll Southdown Sheep. But besides that breed, others like Mini Cheviot Sheep and Harlequin Mini Meat also qualify as miniature.
What Size Are Miniature Sheep?
In our search, we found no standard size for miniature sheep. However, following the trend of the individual breeds, many of them had an average height between 17 and 24 inches.
The average weight of the breeds we examined falls between 60 and 150 pounds.
What Is the Smallest Breed of Sheep?
The Ouessant Sheep is considered the smallest breed of sheep in existence. While its height range is about the same as other miniature sheep breeds, its maximum weight is just around 41 pounds.
How Much Does a Miniature Sheep Cost?
The cost of a miniature sheep typically ranges from around $150 to $600. Of course, the price range can be higher, and it depends on various factors. Some of those include:
- The breed
- The gender of the sheep
- The size
- Whether it is neutered or not
Are Miniature Sheep Good Pets?
Ordinarily, most sheep breeds make good pets. They are generally gentle and receptive to human interaction.
These characters apply to the minis too, so in general, miniature sheep are good pets. In fact, Babydoll Southdown Sheep are commonly sold as pets.
5 Best Small/Miniature Sheep Breeds
Babydoll Southdown Sheep
The Babydoll Southdown Sheep breed originated from the South Down, Sussex County, England. It is one of the oldest down sheep on record.
Babydoll Southdown rams typically stand at 22 to 24 inches, while ewes measure 20 to 23 inches. On average, they weigh 60 to 125 pounds.
Babydoll Southdown sheep have upright and moderately long necks with broad heads. The head of a Babydoll Southdown should be level between both ears and show no dark poll sign.
Babydoll Southdown sheep typically come with white or off-white coats.
However, the legs and the muzzle come in any shade of brown – solid or mottled. Babydoll Southdown sheep may also be colored black even though some black lambs turn light gray with age.
The color of a Babydoll Southdown’s fleece is expected to be solid – spotting is not desirable.
They are generally docile which is why they are commonly kept as pets. However, they may also be bred for weed control and grass mowing.
Mini Harlequin Sheep (Harlequin Mini Meat)
The Harlequin Mini Meat originated in Australia. It is revered for its color, hardiness, and docile disposition.
On average, the Harlequin Mini Meat sheep are 18 to 24 inches tall. On average, the ewes weigh 80 to 120 pounds, while the rams weigh 90 to 150 pounds.
Both rams and ewes of the Mini Harlequin breed are polled, and their medium-length heads are moderately broad. Mini Harlequin sheep come in various combinations of black and white. Their wools have a medium or fine texture and are pretty dense.
Harlequin Mini Meats are easy to handle and docile. Hence, their primary use as pets although they are also sometimes bred for their wool.
American Mini Cheviot Sheep
The American Mini Cheviot Sheep came from a flock of sheep brought into the United States from Canada. This breed looks just like the regular Cheviot Sheep, except it is shorter.
On average, American Mini Cheviot sheep weigh 55 to 100 pounds: the rams 55-100 and the ewes 45-85. They typically stand as tall as 17 to 23 inches at the withers when fully grown.
American Mini Cheviot sheep are polled. They have broad faces and short, sturdy, wool-free legs. Plus, they come in various wool colors, including white, silver, beige, and black.
The wool of American Mini Cheviots is low-grease, dense, and soft, with thickness between 25 and 32 microns.
In many cases, American Mini Cheviot sheep are kept as farm pets. However, they may also be bred for wool, and to a lesser extent, meat.
The Shetland Sheep breed has Scottish origins. It is native to the Shetland Isles, Scotland, and is revered for its fine wool.
Shetland rams have horns while the ewes are polled. They have small bodies coupled with medium-length legs. Shetland sheep are covered in fine, soft wool – but only moderately. They come in various colors, and each one has a traditional name.
While Shetland rams weigh 90 to 125 pounds, the ewes weigh 75 to 99 pounds. They are hardy, active, and adaptable to various climates.
Shetland sheep are primarily bred for their wool. However, they may also be kept for meat and conservation grazing.
The Ouessant breed is considered the smallest sheep breed in the world. It is native to the island of Ouessant off Brittany Coast, France.
There used to be two lines of this breed on the island: Vendeen and Morbihan. However, the two lines merged into one later.
Ouessant rams typically stand at a maximum height of 19 inches, while the ewes are 18 inches. They have compact bodies, and on average, they weigh 41 pounds. The rams are horned, but the ewes are polled.
The coat of Ouessant sheep is typically black or brown. However, some may also be white. Being small sheep, they do not necessarily need too much fleece. Interestingly, a significant volume of their body is made of wool.
The wool of Ouessant sheep is 27-28 microns thick, on average. It extends over the body of the sheep and to the face and cheeks. The coat of Ouessant sheep usually comes with a dense undercoat.
Ouessant sheep are primarily bred for their wool. However, they are also kept as pets. This is understandable since they are friendly and curious.