The coat of a sheep is typically made of hair, wool, or both. The coats come in various colors, including brown, black, white, spotted, and many more.
Of all the coat colors of sheep, white appears to be the most common one. Almost all sheep breeds have a white variant, so it would be no surprise if you have seen a white sheep before. Notwithstanding this possibility, we discuss some white sheep breeds in this article.
Australian White Sheep
As the name says, the Australian White Sheep is of Australian origins. It is a medium to large white sheep breed bred for its meat.
The Australian White Sheep is a composite breed. Its genetic pool has portions of Texel Blood, Van Rooy, White Dorper, and Poll Dorset.
Australian White Sheep have self-replacing white-haired coats, making them easy to maintain. They have superior reproductive capabilities coupled with an open breeding season.
These traits make them sufficiently self-replacing. Also, they grow pretty fast – attaining maturity in 10 to 12 months.
Both Australian White ewes and rams are polled. But they may have small scurs. On average, the rams weigh 240-265 pounds, while the ewes weigh 150-175 pounds.
Royal White Sheep
The Royal White Sheep is a hair breed native to Texas, USA. It was developed by William Hoag for improved performance, parasite resistance, easy maintenance, better meat distribution, and many other reasons.
Royal White Sheep breed all year round. This makes it possible for them to produce lambs at high rates. The lambs also develop rapidly and have high meat distribution – as much as 54%.
Ewes and rams of this breed are both polled. The rams have an average weight of 185 to 235 pounds, while the ewes weigh 175 to 210 pounds.
The Cheviot Sheep originated from Cheviot Hills, a place between England and Scotland. It is a white-faced wool sheep, known for its hardiness.
Cheviot Sheep have white coats with moderate-length and relatively straight wools. They are usually used in crossbreeding with other sheep breeds, especially Lincolns and Border Leicesters. Cheviots are alert and active, and they are typically hornless.
The average Cheviot ram weighs around 160-200 pounds, while the ewes weigh 120-160 pounds. Cheviot sheep are dual-purpose; they are reared for their wool and meat.
St. Croix Sheep
The St. Croix sheep is a hardy American breed native to the Virgin Islands. It falls under a group of sheep called the Caribbean Hair Sheep family.
St. Croix sheep has a lot of characteristics that contribute to its hardiness. For one, it is adapted to tropical climates, so it tolerates heat and humidity well.
Besides, it has markedly high parasite resistance than many other breeds. More so, they are excellent at foraging, and if placed in a cold environment, they grow wool to resist the coolness.
Apart from the above, St. Croix sheep have a remarkable lambing rate, up to 150-200%. On average, they produce 2.1 lambs per birth. In other words, they often have twins and triplets, and sometimes, quadruplets.
St. Croix rams can be as heavy as 200 pounds, while the ewes reach up to 150 pounds. The lambs typically have their birth weights around 6 to 7 pounds. St. Croix sheep are described as being calm with good flocking instincts.
Van Rooy Sheep
Van Rooy Sheep are native to South Africa. The eponymous developer of this breed was Senator JC Van Rooy. He set out to create a hardy breed that could resist drought.
He also wanted the breed to be fertile and have excellent conformation.
To achieve this, he crossed a White Blinkhaar Afrikaner ram and about 80 Rambouillet ewes. Then he applied the principles of inbreeding and selection.
Van Rooy sheep are medium to large in size, with both genders polled. They have fat tails and coats with a mixture of wool and hair. But they are considered a hair breed.
Van Rooy sheep are typically used to bear crossbred lambs. They can also be bred for their meat and skin.
The Wiltipoll is a large sheep breed created in Australia. On average, a mature Wiltipoll can weigh up to 132-275 pounds.
Wiltipoll sheep were developed from a crossbreeding of Wiltshire Horn Sheep with Poll Dorset, Border Leicester, Perendale, and Poll Merino.
Wiltipoll sheep are bred mainly for their meat and their lamb production. This is not surprising since the ewes are prolific breeders. While they lamb only once a year, they typically produce twins, triplets, and sometimes quadruplets.
Ewes and rams of this breed are naturally polled. They are a wool breed, and they shed their wool every year.
The White Suffolk is another Australian breed on our list. This breed was developed to tolerate the Australian climate.
The White Suffolk is a medium to large breed. They are a wool breed, and as their name says, they have white coats.
White Suffolk sheep are mainly bred for their meat. They grow at a fast rate, are usually hardy, and are well adapted to the Australian climate. White Suffolk may also be kept for their wool and skin.
Some of the top features of a White Suffolk include their ease of lambing, excellent maternal drive, high fertility, and early maturity.
The Polypay breed was created in the 1960s in Idaho, USA. It is a composite breed with a gene pool comprising Rambouillet, Finnsheep, Dorset, and Targhee.
The name Polypay was coined from two words: Poly and Pay. Poly means multiple, while Pay returns.
So, the name can be translated to mean multiple returns. This is understandable since the breed was developed to be highly prolific.
Polypay sheep are medium-sized. They are a wool breed with white coats, and they are bred for their meat and wool.
Bentheimer Landschaf, also called Landrace of Bentheim, is a German breed. It is a native of the northern German Emsland area, particularly Bentheim county.
The Bentheimer Landschaf is a medium-sized breed crossed from a Marsh sheep and a Heath sheep. However, it is currently endangered.
Bentheimer Landschaf sheep have a predominantly white coat. But you may find some black spots around the eyes, legs, and ears.
Both genders of this breed are polled. The ewes weigh around 110 to 132 pounds, and the rams come in at 165 to 176 pounds.
Landrace of Bentheim sheep are mainly bred for vegetation management and landscape preservation. Nonetheless, they can also be reared for their meat.
The Border Leicester is a sheep breed native to Leicestershire, England. The Border Leicester is a large wool sheep.
In fact, it is ranked the third-largest longwool breed. The average ram weighs around 175 to 300 pounds, while the ewes weigh 150 to 225 pounds.
Border Leicester ewes are prolific breeders and excellent mothers. They are also heavy milkers, and they produce up to 12 pounds of grease wool per year. Both sexes are polled, and they are used for meat & wool.
Alongside two other breeds, the Canadian Arcott was developed at the Agriculture Canada Research Station near Ottawa.
Of course, the Canadian Arcott is native to Canada, where it was crossed from 5 breeds. The breeds are Suffolk, Leicester, Romnelet, North County Cheviot, and Ile de France.
Canadian Arcotts are medium or large-sized. The average ewe weighs 165 to 209 pounds.
The average ram, on the other hand, weighs 176 to 220 pounds. They are typically all-white, but their faces may also be mottled.
Canadian Arcotts are hornless, and they are bred mainly for their meat. The lambs grow pretty fast, reaching maturity in around 230 days.
The Columbia sheep originated from the United States. In fact, it is one of the earliest sheep breeds in the US. The Columbia sheep was developed from crossing a Rambouillet ewe and a Lincoln ram.
Columbia sheep are a medium-wool and dual-purpose breed. They are typically bred for their wool and meat.
Their wool is heavy, and it covers most parts of the body besides the face.
The Columbia breed is large-sized. An average ewe will weigh between 150 and 225 pounds. The rams, on the other hand, weigh 225 to 300 pounds, on average. Both sexes are hornless.
Columbia sheep are revered for their excellent maternal abilities, milk production, meat production, and wool production. Their lambs are fast-growing, and the breed is generally a hardy one.
Devon Longwoolled or Devon longwool is a longwool breed from the United Kingdom. It is a dual-purpose sheep breed kept for meat and wool.
Sheep of the Devon Longwool breed are large. The ewes weigh around 165 to 176 pounds, while the rams weigh 220-242 pounds. Both sexes of the Devon Longwool breed are polled.
Compared to other longwool breeds, Devon Longwool sheep are short. However, they appear bulkier. They are typically white, with the wooly coat covering all parts of their bodies, including their faces.
Devon Longwoolled sheep are hardy. They adapt readily to various environments and are beautiful. Their lambs grow at a fast rate, and the ewes have excellent maternal abilities.