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Jacob Sheep

Jacob Sheep
Jacob Sheep are a primitive, domesticated breed that has a bit of an obscure and speculative history. The name actually comes from the Biblical Jacob, who had his own herd of spotted sheep, though the name was not given to the breed until more modern times. Pictorial representations of spotted sheep like the Jacobs appear in the ancient art of the Middle East and Mediterranean, and over time they spread into North Africa, Italy and Spain. By the 1700s these sheep were widespread across England, where they were developed and documented as a breed.

Jacob Sheep are considered primitive because there has been very little selective breeding done to them. They are known for their hardiness, easy lambing, and spotted fleeces. You may have also noticed in the picture that that sheep has four horns! Jacob Sheep are a polycerate breed, meaning they have multiple sets of horns. Two pairs is most common, but they sometimes have three! Both the males and females sport horns. Jacob Sheep differ from other Northern European polycerates in that they only have one layer of wool, while the others have a fine undercoat and a denser outer-coat.

This particular breed is still considered rare, especially in the United States. Most of the country's population is descended from sheep imported over the last 30 years. In a relatively short amount of time the British and American populations have diverged, with the British stock being larger.

Jacob Sheep are considered a threatened breed, due to their low numbers and the risk of mixing with other breeds. Less than 1,000 Jacob Sheep are registered in the United States each year.

Status : Threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
Location : Originally from the Middle East, then England. Now found worldwide
Size : Weights - females 80-120lbs (36-54kg), males 120-180lbs (54-81kg)
Classification : Phylum  Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Bovidae -- Subfamily : Caprinae -- Genus : Ovis -- Species : O. aries


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