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About Shetlands

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History of Shetland Sheep

The roots of the Shetland Sheep go back over a thousand years, probably to sheep brought to the Shetland Islands by Viking settlers. They belong to the Northern European short-tailed group which also contains the Finnsheep, Norwegian Spaelsau, Icelandics, Romanovs and others.

Qualities of the Breed

Shetland Sheep are a small, calm breed of sheep — ideal for a small flock!

Shetlands are one of the smallest of the British sheep. Rams usually weigh 90 to 125 pounds and ewes about 75 to 100 pounds. Rams usually have beautiful spiral horns, whereas the ewes are typically polled. They are fine-boned and agile and their naturally short, fluke-shaped tails do not require docking.

They are a calm, docile and easy-to-manage breed. Most respond well to attention and some even wag their tails when petted!

Although Shetlands are small and relatively slow growing, they maintain natural hardiness, thriftiness, easy lambing, adaptability and longevity. Shetlands survived for centuries under harsh conditions and on a meager diet, although they do very well under less rigorous conditions. Having retained many of their primitive survival instincts, they are easier to care for than many of today’s commercial breeds.

Use the links below for more information about Shetland Sheep.

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