Cross Bred Sheep

Producing cross bred sheep

Any sheep can be crossed to produce crossbred progeny, although it is necessary to consider the implications of any difference in size between the two animals. Crossbreeding sometimes happens accidentally. Often it is deliberate to produce a desired result. This could be an improved conformation or a specific type of fleece. Some crosses have specific names. For example a Lleyn cross Romney is called a Kent Half Breed.

Cross breeding to produce a coloured fleece

To produce coloured offspring both the ewe and ram must either be coloured or have a recessive coloured gene. The two exceptions are Jacob and Black Welsh Mountain which both have dominant black genes. Exciting offspring can be achieved with cross breeding, but it is not an exact science. It is difficult to accurately predict results.

There are, however, some factors that are usually dependable

  • a lustre longwool, (for example Wensleydale or Leiceste), will add lustre and strength to the offspring’s fleece
  • fine woolled sheep like Merino, Corriedale or even Shetland, will produce a finer fleece
  • Blue Texel will improve conformation.

Cross bred sheep

Cross bred fleece is often easier to spin than pure bred fleece.