Shropshire Sheep Breed Information, History & Facts

Shropshire sheep standing in a green pasture
Shropshire sheep are a black-faced breed from Shropshire, England, with a lineage dating back to 1792. They are docile and reproduce rapidly, making them a popular dual-purpose breed.

Shropshire Sheep Breed Origin

Shropshire sheep originated from Shropshire in central western England. The ancestors of this breed of sheep can be traced back to 1792. 

Breeds that influenced the development of Shropshire sheep include: 

The Southdown’s genes helped remove the Shropshire’s horns and reduce the coarseness of wool. Crossbreeding with Cotswold and Leicester sheep improved the wool length and size.

The Royal Agricultural Society of England officially recognized Shropshire in 1853. Shropshire sheep entered the United States from Virginia around 1855. By 1880, it had spread across the United States.

Shropshire Sheep Breed Characteristics

OriginShropshire, England
AppearanceCream-colored wool and black faces, ears, and legs.
Wool10-14 pounds of fleece (Rams), 9-11 pounds of fleece (Ewes). Dense and elastic, with a good staple length.
WeightUp to 225 pounds (Rams, up to 165 pounds (Ewes)
EnvironmentDoes well in various environments due to its thick wool.
Common usesMeat production, wool production, weed control
FertilityShropshire ewes are prolific mothers, with 175% to 200% lambing percentages. Lambs mature quickly.

Shropshire sheep are a hardy breed with black faces and thick, cream-colored wool. Their abundant wool protects them from harsh conditions.

Shropshire sheep reproduce well and live long lives. 

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They are also known for:

  • Docility
  • Hardiness
  • Easy lambing
  • Early maturity
  • Multiple births
  • Disease resistance
  • High rates of milk production and gain
  • Outstanding quality and quantity of meat and wool

Shropshire Sheep Fertility

Shropshire sheep ewes standing in a green pasture with a lamb

Shropshire ewes are prolific mothers. They are ideal for rearing and domestication because of their 175% to 200% lambing percentages.

Ewes of this breed are highly attentive to their lambs. 

Crossing Shropshire rams with ewes from other breeds can result in fast-growing lambs. Shropshire lambs are small at birth but quickly gain weight.

Shropshire Sheep Wool

The Shropshire breed has a complete wool covering that extends up to the tip of the nose, the fore and hind legs, and the feet.

A single ram can have as much as 10 to 14 pounds of fleece. On the other hand, a ewe can have anywhere from 9 to 11 pounds.

The fleece of Shropshire sheep is dense and elastic, with a good staple length.

Shropshire Sheep Breed Facts

Here are some characteristics that set the Shropshire sheep apart from other breeds:

  • Shropshire rams can weigh up to approximately 225 pounds. Shropshire ewes can weigh up to 165 pounds
  • Aside from their use for wool and meat, Shropshire sheep are also used on farms for weed control.
  • Due to their calm temperament, they are easy to take care of. They are sometimes used as pets.


Joanne is a nocturnal person who loves traveling and coffee. She’s also an animal lover (and rescuer) who makes it a point to befriend every animal she meets. Her passion for learning led her to writing about various topics. As someone who dreams of becoming an “animal whisperer,” she aims to continue learning about animals–particularly sheep, and at the same time, share her knowledge here at Sheep Caretaker.

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