Shetland sheep are very pretty primitive sheep. They are small of size, easy to handle, have wonderful characters and high quality fleeces. They are very hardy sheep, great protective mothers and give birth easily.
Shetland sheep belong to the Northern Short-tailed group of sheep, they are fine boned and light weight.
They come in may varying colours and markings. They can be black base and brown base (Moorit) colour. The most common pattern is Badgerface, this is called Katmoget in the shetland breed. You also get Mouflon pattern in Shetland sheep, this is known as Gulmoget. As well as these there is also the grey pattern and white pattern present in the breed. White spotting is pretty common too and the Shetland breed society has many different names depending on how the spotting is presented, this can be very confusing, in simple genetic terms Shetland sheep are either black or brown base, with a pattern or not on top and white spotting or not on top of that to whatever varying degree. Our Patchwork sheep share the same possibilities of colour, pattern and spotting as Shetland sheep.
For centuries Shetland sheep have been prized for their wool, they have a very soft and well crimped fleece. There are actually 3 different types of recognised Shetland fleece. Single Coated (usually short and very crimped), Long/Wavy (medium length fleece and medium crimp) and Primitive/Double Coated (very long, often straighter and still soft).
Shetland ewes are usually polled whilst the rams often have horns.
I absolutely love Shetland sheep, they are lovely little characters and very clever. It is quite hard to find nicely spotted Shetland sheep in the UK. A lot of breeders don’t focus on breeding spotting into their registered Shetland flocks, this may be because they want whole coloured fleeces for spinning or because they are more focused on breed type and producing a good lamb for market thank colour or spotting.