Characteristics of Different Breeds

Basic characteristics of breeds that are commonly available among coloured sheep in New Zealand.

Romney

33-37 micron, 125-175mm, some lustre, Many purposes, including outer garments and rugs, The most numerous breed in New Zealand. Most popular breed with handcrafters.
See also: Spinners' notes for this breed.
See also: Notes for this breed (PDF 600 KB) from "Sheep Wise – Wool Wise" (see below: Suggested Further Reading).

Merino

14-25 micron, 65-100mm, little lustre, Suitable for luxury garments and baby wear. Popular for felting, Fine soft wool often with a waxy tip.
See also: Spinners' notes for this breed.
See also: Notes for this breed (PDF 1.1 MB) from "Sheep Wise – Wool Wise" (see below: Suggested Further Reading).

Polwarth

23-26 micron, 75-110mm, more lustrous than merino, Fine and soft wool, suitable for knitted or woven garments and for felting, Developed from 3/4 Merino, 1/4 Lincoln.
See also: Spinners' notes for this breed.
See also: Notes for this breed (PDF 441 MB) from "Sheep Wise – Wool Wise" (see below: Suggested Further Reading).

NZ Halfbred

25-13 micron, 75-110mm, medium lustre, suitable for medium-weight yarn and for felting. Similar to fine Corriedale, First cross between a longwool breed ram such as Lincoln, English Leicester or Romney and a Merino ewe.
See also: Spinners' notes for this breed.

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Corriedale

26-35 micron, 75-125mm, medium lustre, A very versatile breed, suitable for medium-weight yarn, developed from Lincoln and English Leicester crossed with Merino.
See also: Spinners' notes for this breed.
See also: Notes for this breed (PDF 890 KB) from "Sheep Wise – Wool Wise" (see below: Suggested Further Reading).

Poll Dorset

27-32 micron, 75-100 mm, low lustre, Very bulky, low lustre wool which makes a bouncy yarn. Hard to felt, Grows the longest wool of any of the Down type sheep.

Perendale

30-37 micron, 100-150mm, low lustre, Bouncy, low-lustre wool suitable for clothing, blankets, and many other uses. Does not felt easily, Developed from crossing Cheviot with Romney.
See also: Spinners' notes for this breed.
See also: Notes for this breed (PDF 510 MB) from "Sheep Wise – Wool Wise" (see below: Suggested Further Reading).

English Leicester

37-40 micron, 150-200mm, silky, lustrous, wool suitable for outer garments and rugs, called Leicester Longwool in Britain.
See also: Notes for this breed (PDF 552 MB) from "Sheep Wise – Wool Wise" (see below: Suggested Further Reading).

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Finn

25-33 micron, 75-125mm, silky, Soft silky wool which handles like mohair, felts easily, and is suitable for garments and woven fabrics, also known as Finnsheep or Finnish Landrace.

Gotland

27-33micron, 100-150mm, silky, lustrous, Silky lustrous wool which makes soft-draping garments and is excellent for felting, called Gotland Pelt in their native Sweden.
See also: Notes for this breed (PDF 365 MB) from "Sheep Wise – Wool Wise" (see below: Suggested Further Reading).

East Friesian

28-33 micron, 75-125mm, low lustre, A low lustre wool, suitable for clothing and blankets. Does not felt easily, Primarily a milking breed.

Lincoln

38-44 micron, 175-250mm, lustrous, Strong wool with heavy lustrous staples, used in furnishings and wig making. Finer fleeces can be blended with mohair, Possibly the original longwool breed of England.
See also: Notes for this breed (PDF 510 MB) from "Sheep Wise – Wool Wise" (see below: Suggested Further Reading).

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Drysdale

40 micron plus, 200-300 mm, low lustre, Harsh hairy fleece suited to carpets and rugs, vital part of New Zealand carpet manufacture.

Suggested further reading:

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coloured flock against a mountain backdrop Spring time twin lambs fleeces displayed at the 2004 World Congress
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