No not all sheep are white and woolly. Let us look at some of the more unusual, exotic, rare, and just plain weird, breeds and types of sheep. If you are looking for an unusual sheep to keep as a pet or for profit, check these sheep out.
The Jacob Sheep
Photo by Author, This is a young lamb ram, he isn’t even six months of age. You note he has 4 horns.
This is a very old breed although poorly known by most people. These sheep were recently seen in the movie, “Year One”. They are typically black and white, but can also be gray and white, or lilac and white. That makes them such a spectacular animal is that the rams often grow multiple sets of huge, bizarrely shaped horns. Some even have six horns or more! Although they may look dangerous Jacob sheep are often kept as pets and for lawn control.
Photo by Author, this is a Katahdin ram, at about 10 months of age.
This is a type rather than a breed. There are actually many breeds of hair sheep, including the Katahdin and Dorper. These sheep are slower to mature and as such are less popular in the industry even though their meat is said to be tastier. Additionally these sheep have many advantages when looking for a lower maintenance animal. They have a better resistance to parasites and do not require shearing or their tails to be docked. Their coats will grow thicker in the winter (at which time they may show some more wool type hairs)and shed in the spring.
Photo by Author. This is a young Barbado (also called the American Blackbelly) hair sheep ram, around one year of age. There is a similar hair sheep called the Barbados Blackbelly, the difference being the Barbado (no “s”) rams have horns, where the Barbados Blackbelly rams are polled (no horns). You will note he is shedding the last bit of his winter coat in the photo. When mature adult Barbado rams are sometimes used in trophy hunting.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/96628465@N00/558847024/ An Icelandic ewe.
These sheep may not look too unusual in their photo but they have some unique traits. First of all they have a naturally short tail which requires no docking. Additionally some ewes have a gene that allows them to have multiple births. Where twins and triplets are common in most breeds, Icelandic sheep with this gene may have 4-6 lambs. These lambs may require bottle feedings. These sheep are shorter in height and friendly. They do well as pets and on hobby farms.