Polypay Sheep Breed Information, History & Facts

Polypay Sheep Featured Image
The Polypay Sheep is a sheep that was developed in the United States which combined the Targhee, Rambouillet, Finnsheep, and Dorset sheep breeds. Today it's a dual-purpose breed, often used for wool production and market lambs.

This article showcases the history of the Polypay sheep, their breed characteristics, and examine the qualities of their wool and carcass. It also lists the positive attributes and benefits of owning Polypay sheep, so you’ll discover if this is the right breed for your farm.

Where Does The Polypay Sheep Come From?

The Polypay sheep came from a crossbreeding project conducted by the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station Animal Sciences team in Dubois, Idaho in the late 1960s.

The experiment was led by Dr. Hulet, Arlin Knight, and Keith Ercanbrack.

They wanted to create a profitable new breed that was dual-purpose and had desirable carcass quality. To this end, they created a cross-breeding program for the development of the Polypay breed of sheep with the first cross in 1968.

Four different sheep breeds were ultimately involved in the creation of the Polypay which is a composite of the Targhee, Rambouillet, Finnsheep, and Dorset sheep breeds.

The Polypay name came from the words “poly” which means many or multiple, and “pay” which is likened to profit, or return on investment.

The American Polypay Sheep Association was founded in 1980 and breeders can be found throughout North America. The cost for a Polypay sheep ranges from $380 to $600 each and they are typically a breed for commercial purposes.

See Also:  Jacob Sheep Breed Information, History & Facts

Polypay Sheep Breed Characteristics

OriginDubois, Idaho, United States
AppearancePolypay sheep have a medium to large body size and a white face, with smooth skin. Both rams and ewes are polled (without horns).
WoolMicron range from 24 to 31
Wool grade between 48’s to 60’s
Staple length ranges between 3 and 5 inches
Grease fleece typically weighs 7 to 10 pounds
Yield are between 50 to 60 percent
WeightRams weight 190 and 250 pounds
Ewes weight 140 and 180 pounds
FertilityLamb production is prolific in this breed and it is possible to have multiple lamb crops annually.
Their breeding season is longer than average and they require frequent mating
Mature ewes will have a shorter gestation period thanks to the Finnsheep’s genes, and may produce twins or triplets.
MeatHighly regarded
EnvironmentCan handle most climates
Common UsesBoth meat and fleece production

What Kind Of Fleece Does The Polypay Sheep Produce?

This American sheep produces quality white fleece that is between medium and coarse in texture and is known for having a moderate lanolin content.

Why Should I Raise Polypay Sheep?

There are multiple reasons why you should consider raising Polypay Sheep on your sheep farm:

  • The rapid growth rate of lambs means higher meat production
  • High lifetime prolificacy of ewes yields large lamb crops
  • Polypay ewes make good mothers and have high milk production
  • Great breed for landscape management as they enjoy foraging
  • Docile and easy to raise
  • High-quality fleece for use in spinning and weaving
  • Highly adaptable to different climates and hardy


A longtime resident of Southern California, Christina recently moved across the globe to Austria, where she bought land specifically to build a small house with room for a backyard chicken coop. Christina spent her childhood summers on a farm, raising and caring for a flock of hens owned by her grandparents, which prompted a lifelong love of chickens, and other farm animals. Christina is passionate about writing, having written hundreds of articles for well-known websites, and uses her English degree in service of her love for animal welfare, most recently taking on a writing position at Sheep Care Taker in 2022.

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