Types of classification of sheep breeds, according to which criteria are divided and description

Types of classification of sheep breeds, according to which criteria are divided and description

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Classification, or rather, systematization of ram and sheep breeds in terms of productivity and wool quality, clearly reflects the main features of animals. On an industrial scale, they are bred mainly for the sake of wool fiber and meat. Small farms have the opportunity to raise sheep to obtain fat tail fat and milk for making elite cheeses.

Classification of breeds according to the direction of productivity

Sheep are animals that are bred for the sake of delicious mutton, fat tail fat, wool. Cheese and delicious cheeses are made from the milk of females. The skin removed during cutting (sheepskin, smushka) is used for sewing fur products. Breeds are classified according to the direction of productivity, that is, depending on the type of product for which the animals are raised.


The breeds of meat specialization include animals with a strong constitution, developed muscle mass, and high productivity. Such rams and sheep grow quickly, gain weight well, are distinguished by early maturity, at the age of 9 months they weigh at least 40-50 kg, and in a year or one and a half their weight is 70-90 kg. Some individuals gain up to 130 kilograms. Slaughter meat yield is about 50%.

Expert opinion

Zarechny Maxim Valerievich

Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.

Popular meat breeds: Romanovskaya, Gorkovskaya, Romney-marsh, Kuibyshevskaya, North Caucasian, West Siberian, Prekos, Zwartbles, Texel.


These are mainly animals of Asian breeds, which are raised for meat and fat tail fat. Sheep quickly gain weight, by 9-10 months they weigh at least 45 kg. In a fat tail in one season they gain 2-7 kg of fat tail fat. In some representatives of this breed, the weight in 2-3 years can reach 120 kg, and the mass of fat in a fat tail is 30 kg. The best meat and lard sheep (according to the industrial classification): Gissar, Edilbaevskaya, Dzhaidara.


Sheep are not raised solely for milk. It is a by-product obtained after lambing females. Dairy sheep breeds are divided into meat and milk and wool and milk. The East Frisian German breed gives the most milk (450 liters per year per lactation). Slightly less can be obtained from the French lacon, Tsigai, Romanov, Balbas and Askanian sheep.

Sheep's milk is used to make feta cheese and delicious cheeses: ricotta, roquefort, feta, pecorino. This product is not used for cheeses. Milk has a high fat content (6-9%).


Wool is one of the main products of sheep breeding. The wool is sheared from the sheep 1-2 times a year, usually after winter. Wool can be thin, semi-thin, coarse, semi-coarse, of various lengths and thicknesses. Depending on the breed, from 3 to 12 kilograms of wool is cut from one animal per year.

Varieties of sheep by type of wool

Sheep have fine, semi-fine and coarse wool. Each breed has its own type of coat. The most expensive is the fine merino wool.


Sheep of the fine-wooled type produce the finest wool of the highest quality. In this group there are animals with different indicators of wool and meat productivity. Most of the wool is sheared from fine-wooled rams and sheep (6-16 kg). The lowest productivity is in the meat-wool subgroup (3-6 kg).

The fine-wooled breeds of animals are those in which the fineness of the coat is generally 15-22 microns. Sheep is sheared when the length of the hairline reaches 6-9 cm. In terms of quality, the thin fleece is divided into merino (white, soft, elastic) and non-merino (less crimp). Varieties of fine-wool animals in terms of productivity:

  • wool (Soviet merino, Stavropol, Salskaya);
  • meat and wool (prekos, Dagestan, Volgograd);
  • wool and meat (Caucasian, Transbaikal, South Ural).

The wool of fine-wooled rams is used in the knitwear industry, including for the manufacture of elite costume fabrics. From the merino hair, cut at the withers, a thin and strong merino yarn is made. Extra-class wool sells for $ 20-30 per kilogram.

Semi-fine wool

The fineness of wool in semi-fine wool breeds is 22-30 microns. Semi-fine wool sheep have a short-haired (less than 10 cm) and long-haired (more than 10 cm) wool cover. From one animal (depending on the breed), they cut from 1.2 to 9.5 kg of wool per year.

Varieties of semi-fine fleece rams:

  • long-haired meat and wool (Soviet, Kuibyshev, Russian, Romney March);
  • meat-wool short-haired (gorkovskaya, shropshire);
  • wool and meat (Tsigai, Gorno-Altai).

Wool of semi-fine fleece sheep is a valuable raw material for the knitting industry, from which woolen fabrics and technical cloth are made. Livestock products are used to make blankets, blankets, carpets.


Coarse-haired animals are animals with a wool fineness of 31-40 microns. Rams with a coarse fleece are usually bred for meat and fat tail. The woolen cover is cut for hygienic purposes 1-2 times a year and handed over to the purveyors. 1.2-3.2 kg of wool is cut from one animal at a time. The karakul breed also belongs to the coarse-wooled breed, from the skins (smushki) of which astrakhan fur coats are made.

Varieties of coarse-haired rams:

  • smushkovye (karakul, reshilovskaya, sokolskaya);
  • meat and fur coat (Romanovskaya, northern);
  • meat and wool (Tyvinskaya, Cherkasskaya, Kuchugurovskaya);
  • meat and greasy (Asian breeds);
  • meat-wool-dairy (Karachai, Andean, balbas, Lezghin).

Zoological classification

The zoological classification of rams is based on the length and shape of the tail. This is a conditional systematization of animals belonging to different subgroups. It is also called morphological.

Zoological classification:

  • short-tailed with a skinny tail (northern, Romanovskaya);
  • long-tailed with a skinny tail (fine-wool and semi-fine-wool breeds);
  • short-tailed with fatty deposits in the tail area (Telenginskaya, Buryat, Kulundinskaya);
  • long-tailed with fat deposits in the tail area (Kuchugurovskaya, Georgian, Karakulskaya);
  • fat-tailed with a short underdeveloped tail (Asian fat-tailed breeds).

Watch the video: Sheep breeds and there important feature