portlandPortland Sheep

Originally bred on the Isle of Portland, these old tan-faced sheep were here before the Roman invasion. They are stockier in type than the Manx and have two horns. The Portlands have a lovely fleece for the novice spinner with a staple length of 6-9cm. Each creamy, white fleece will weigh approximately 2kg.

At the time of the Roman invasion there already was a significant local wool trade, often a measure of the prosperity of a community. The advent of dyeing increased the value of white fleeces resulting in selection and cross breeding of sheep. The appearance of the primitive breeds changed, although the colour of face and legs and the presence of coloured kemp remained. A characteristic of more primitive sheep is that their lambs are born with their original colouring.

These features of the Portland suggest that it is closer to its primitive origins than most breeds. Regardless of their origin, Portland sheep were kept on an island and preserved from many of the influences affecting sheep on the mainland.

For further information visit the Portland sheep breeders group.