Leicester Longwool Sheep

The Leicester Longwool sheep is a rare breed, dual purpose, that we began raising on our farm in 2019.

The Leicester Longwool has a very important history, as it pertains to the development of purposeful and reproducible breeding and animal husbandry. These sheep were originally bred by Robert Bakewell. His efforts in breeding these sheep are one of the very first efforts in modern day husbandry, to breed for a specific quality in an animal. His work was revolutionary, and this dual purpose breed became wide spread in the American colonies during the time of the American Revolution. They were known for their long length of wool (staple) and the shiny appearance referred to as luster. First American President George Washington had a large number of these sheep as well. They would be very important to home spinners before the modern textile industry developed.

Unfortunately, like many heritage animals, these sheep were gradually replaced by newer breeds. Many of which had their origins based on seed stock from the Leicester Longwools. Eventually, all Leicester Longwools were extinct in North America, this was shocking giving their dominance on the continent in the early 1900s. Some of these sheep were kept in small numbers in New Zealand and Australia, and were re-introduced to the US in the 1990s due to Colonial Williamsburg’s efforts.

Today there are about 700 Leicester Longwools in the United States.

Because of their long wool fleece, Leicester Longwools are often sheared more than once a year. We have amazing colored ewes that produce a rainbow of color blending from dark grey, silver, café au lait, to golden tones, all in one fleece! Our rams will produce a brilliant white fleece up to an 8 inch or more staple. We also have beautiful unique lamb fleeces that are highly sought after due to their soft nature and tight curl. Please see our price list and email us for purchase.