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Showing Coloured Sheep


Benefits of showing.

  • To evaluate one’s sheep by competing with other breeders.

  • To learn.

  • To advertise.

  • To win … hopefully.


Sheep classes.

  • These need to reflect as far as possible, the breeds represented on the day.

  • A line up which has a degree of uniformity looks more professional and is easier for judging.

  • Classes may range through various wool types from ultra fine (e.g. merino) through to rug wool (e.g. english leicester).

Health and Conformation.

  • No evidence of internal/external parasites, injuries, or illnesses, past or present.

  • It is important that the sheep are in good condition, but not over fat; underfed sheep never present well at a show.

  • Note: Equal emphasis on conformation and wool.


Conformation - 50%.

  • Back line: straight, with no evidence of goose-rump, devil’s grip, or faulty shoulders etc., good body length.

  • Head: soft texture of face, ears and nose, ideally, no wool on nose. Alert, clear, bright eyes, sound mouth/teeth for age; no jaw defects, eg. undershot/overshot, no evidence of a chewing problem.

  • Legs/feet: stands up well on all four, no limp, correct on pasterns. No abnormalities such as cow-hock, bow legs or knock knees.

  • Underneath: a ram must have two sound testicles and a ewe must have two good teats.

Wool - 50%.

  • Sheep present best when carrying close to twelve months growth, but no more.

  • Sheep present better when not fully crutched and wigged, as this spoils the overall appearance and line of the sheep. Just a light trim around tail/pizzle to alleviate stain, and around the eyes to avoid wool blindness.

  • With the exception of strong wool sheep, eg. Border Leicester, a sheep that can grow wool to its feet will produce a better yielding fleece of greater financial value than a sheep of similar type that can not. It is important for the sheep to have a good belly-wool covering.


Qualities of the wool.

  • Length: for breed type

  • Evenness: of character throughout the fleece, and no hairy breech.

  • Softness: for breed type

  • Clean: minimum of dirt/vegetable matter, free of cross fibres.

  • Lustre: for breed type.

  • Colour: is strictly a personal thing with craft people and can reflect the fashion demands of the day. Variation of colour should not be deemed a fault. Black pointed, and sheep with only odd patches of colour are not desirable, otherwise all colours are acceptable and useful within the craft trade. To be classified ‘coloured’ a sheep must have at least 50% colour in its fleece.

  • Soundness: it is most difficult to determine if a fleece is sound while still on the sheep’s back, hence judges will not look for this.



  • A sheep that will catch the eye of a judge is one that is in good health and condition, free of obvious defects, displays good conformation, has trueness of type and breed, and carries an attractive, lustrous, clean and bulky fleece.

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