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Breeds and Varieties of Sheep.
From May's Handy Hook
1) LrfTING U[S UIN'G FEATURES Of Breeds of Sheep, both Native and Foreign, found in Great Britain.
Cl VSS I. — Sheep Without Horns.
1. Dishley or New Leicester : —Head clean, straight, and broad ; body round, or barrel shaped ; eyes fine and lively ; body fine and small ; pelt thin ; wool long and fine, well calculated for combing, and weighing upon an average 8 lbs per fleece when killed at two years old. Fatten kin<Uy and early, being admirably calculated for the market, thriving on pastures that will scarcely keep other sheep, and requiring loss food than others. Tolerably hard and vigorous. Are found chiefly in Leicestershire and the neighboring counties, whence this breed is gradually dispersing through the kingdom. 2. Lincolns;—Face white; bones large; legs white, thick, and rough ; carcass long, thin, and weak ; wool fine and long, from tm to fifteen inches, weighing per fleece, when killed at three years, an average of ll lbs; flesh coarse-grained ; slow feeders, calculated only for the richest pastures ; constitutions tender : are found in Lincolnshire, whence they receive their name, and other rich grazing districts.—Variety 1. Teeswater (freed : Bones finer ; legs longer; carcass more heavy and firm ; back and sides wider than in the original breed; wool not so long as that of the preceding sort, weighing about 9 lbs when killed at two years old ; flesh finer grained and fatter ; female singularly prolific, generally producing two, and often three lambs each; constitution weak; slow feeders, suited only for the finest pastures, consequently lass profitable than the smaller-sized, but quicker feeding sorts of sheep; capable of great improvement by crossing with New Leicester or Dishley rams ; are found in the extensive, fertile, sheltered and inclosed tracts of pasture watered by (he river Tees, in Yorkshire. Variety 2. Cotswold or improved Gloucester Breed : In most respects resembling the parent breed, but superior ; wool not so long as that of the.original sort; mutton fine-grained, and full-sized; capable of greal improvement by proper crossing; are found chiefly in Gloucestershire. 3. Dartmoor or Devonshire Natts : Face and legs white ; neck thick ; bones large; back narrow, but backbone high ; sides good ; wool long, weighing upon an average 91bs when killed at about two years and a half ; improves materially by crossing with the Dishley breed; are chiefly founc on the moors in Devonshire, whence they derive their name. 4. Hereford :—Face and legs white ; size small; carcass well shaped; wool very fine and short, growing close to their eyes, and weighing, when killed at four years and a half old, upon an average 21bs per fleece; patient of hunger ; flesh fine grained ; constitution tender, requiring shelter in winter ; very profitable, no breed being supposed capable of subsisting on so small a quantity of pasture as this sort requires ; are found in the county of Hereford, where thi Archenfield or true breed is known by the name of “ Ryelands.” 5. Southdown ;—Face and legs grey ; bones fine; neck long and small; low before : shoulder high; light in the forequarter; sides' good; loin tolerably broad ; backbone rather too high ; thigh full; and twist good ; wool very fine and short (the staple being from two to three inches in length) weighing an average of 2£lbs per fleece when killed at two years old ; flesh fine grained, and of excellent flavor ; quick feeders ; constitution hardy and vigorous ; capable of great improvement ; are found on the dry chalky downs of Sussex, whence this valuable breed is being gradually introduced into the various districts. Variety 2. Cannock Heath; In most points resembling the Southdown race ; wool fine and soft; flesh fine and sweet; greatly improvable by crossing with Herefordshire rams ; are found on Cannock Heath, in the county of Stafford, which gives this breed its name. G. Romney Marsh :—Faco white ; legs white, and rather long; bones rather large; body round or barrel shaped; size good; wool fine, long, and white, weighing, when killed at two years and a half old. about Mbs per fleece ; flesh excellent and fine-grained ; fatten early and kindly, but calculated only for rich marsh or pasture grounds, where this breed is very profitable; are found on Romney Marsh, whence this valuable sort is denominated, and on the rich marsh-lands of Sussex.
7. Herdwick :—Face speckled with black and white ; legs of the same colour, small, fine, and clean ; wool short and matted in the fleece, each fleece averaging 21bs when killed at four and a half years old; constitution very hardy and vigorous, requiring only a little hay during intense winters ; are found on the mountainous tract at the head of the rivers Esk and Dudden, in Cumberland, where they are farmed out to herds, from which circumstance they derive their name.
8. Cheviot :—Face and legs chiefly white ; body long; eyes lively and prominent; forequarters deficient in depth on the breast, which is narrow, as also is the cliine ; pelt thin ; bones fine, clean, and small; wool partly fine, and in pai’t of a coarse quality, each fleece averaging about 4|lbs when killed at four years and a half hold ; a very hardy mountain breed, well calculated for exposed situations ; fattening kindly ; are found in the mountain tract termed Cheviot Hills, whence they have been introduced into most northern districts. 9. Dun-Faced:—Face of a dun or tawny color; small size; tail short; wool of various streaks, black, red, brown, or dun, and partly of a fine texture, weighing about l|lbs per fleece when killed at four years and a half years old ; flesh finely grained, aud of excellent flavor; not so hardy as the preceding uort; are found in exposed northern districts.' 10. Shetland Very small in size, and
of various colors. Variety 1. has coarse Wool above, and fine wool below, being supplied with long hairs, termed fors and scudda, which protect the animals from the intense cold of winter. Variety 2. has a soft cottony fleece, and is less hardy than the preceding variety, the wool being short and open. W 00l very fine and soft, fit for the finest manufactures, the fleece weighing from 1 to Slbsj very
hardy, but too wild to be confined ; are found in the islands whence this breed is named.
CLASS II. —Horned sheep.
11. Exmore :—Face and legs white ; bone, neck, and head peculiarly delicate ; wool tine and long, averaging about 41bs per fleece ; very hardy ; are found chiefly on and in the vicinity of Exmore, in the northern part of the county of Devon. 12. —Dorsetshire :—Face white ; legs long, small, and white ; ewes singularly prolific, bringing lambs twice, and at any time of the year ; wool fine and short, tue fleece averaging about 3ilbs when killed at three years and a half old ; are found in the county from which the name is derived, and in the adjacent districts. 13. Norfolk ;—Horns large and spiral; faco black ; body long, thin, and weak ; neck long ; legs long, black or grey ; wool short and fine, weighing about 21bs per fleece at three years and a half, which is the chief quality of this breed, whoso flesh is well-flavored and of a fine grain ; kept chiefly for the convenience of folding ; are found in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, where it is native ; but is giving way to the more profitable Southdown breed.
14. Heath :—Horns like those of the preceding sort ; face and legs black; eyes wild and tierce ; carcass short and firm ; wool long, open, coarse, and shaggy, fleece averaging about 3|dbs at four years and a half old ; constitution hardy, and superior to that of the Cheviot breed ; admirably calculated for elevated, healthy, and exposed districts ; good feeders ; flesh excellent ; are found in the north-western parts of Yorkshire, the north-eistem counties of England, and thence forward to Scotland ; it appears to be the same breed which is known in the district of Linton by the various names of Linton, Short, or Forest sheep. 15. Merino, or Spanish Sheep : —Horns of middle size, of which the ewes are sometime destitute ; face white ; legs of the same hue, and rather long; shape not very perfect, having a piece of loose skin depending form the neck; bone fine ; pelt fine and clear; wool uncommonly tine, weighing upon an average about 3£lbs ; constitution pretty hardy; fatten kindly ; are found in Spain, whence two flocks were imported into England; the first in or about 1802, for His Majesty George 111 , the other by Lord Somerville, at an immense expense ; great benefit has been derived by crossing this sort with the best British sheep. The Age of a Sheep. The second year they have two broad teeth ; the third year four broad teeth ; the fourth year six broad teeth ; the fifth year eight broad teeth before. About the end of one year rams, wethers, and all young sheep lose the two fore-teeth, and the incisive teeth of the lower jaw ; at eighteen months the two teeth joining to the former also fall out ; and at three years, being all replaced, they are oven and pretty : as these animals advance in age, the teeth become loose, blunt, and finally black. The age of horned sheep may be known by their horns, which show themselves in the first year, and continue to grow, forming one ring each year. A Spurious Shorthorn.
An interesting case, bearing upon the shorthorn mania has just been tried at Gloucester Assizes. A bull was exhibited at the annual shorthorn show at Birmingham, in 1875, as by Grand Patriot out of Graceful The animal was, of course, supposed to he of this most distinguished parentage on both sides, and skilled judges awarded it the first prize. Mr Henry Allsopp saw the bull, and bought it for the sum of 115 guineas. So far, however, from the bull having the five successive crosses necessary to entitle him to be considered a bull of high degree, it was proved conclusively that this prize-winner, Grand Patriot 11., was only by a pedigree bull by an ordinary cow. Mr Allsopp, however, was quite satisfied with his purchase, and the bull became part of his herd. As a result he is now the happy possessor of some 70 calves, whose grandmother is an ordinary cow, and is likely to add another 58 to the number of these low-caste beasts, thus lowering the whole character of his herd. The jury came to the conclusion that Mr Allsopp had been imposed upon, and awarded him the sum of £750 damages.
Nothing was heard during the trial of the judges at the Birmingham annual show ; but it would be curious to learn how they come to award the first prize in the shorthorn class to a half-bred bull whose pedigree they had not investigated.
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