Heritage Breeds - Sheep and Goats


To find farms raising heritage breeds of sheep, go to the Canadian Registered Sheep and Farmer Directory Services website.

Jacob sheep may have originated in Syria. They are a fine-boned sheep that do well on grass. Their coats are white with black spots, and they have two sets of horns, making them quite striking looking animals.

Iceland sheep may be the oldest domestic breed - unchanged genetically since the 1100s. They were brought to Iceland by the Vikings in the Middle Ages. They have a long, light fleece with varied colours, and produce a lean carcass.

The Karakul is an ancient breed that originated in what is now Uzbekistan. Its fine curly black coat is also known as Persian Lamb. The sheet are very hardy, and store energy reserves in their fat tails, much as a camel uses its hump. These sheep are raised for their fur, milk, meat and tallow.

Newfoundland Sheep are the only breed of sheep developed in Canada. The isolation of coastal communities over time meant that unique characteristics developed, but all are hardy and able to survive on the rough forage available.

The Scottish Blackface dates back to the late Middle Ages in Scotland. It is small, with a long, thick coat and is extremely hardy.

The Shropshire used to be one of the most popular sheep breed in Canada, but is now considered rare. They are docile, hardy and easy to manage.

The Border Cheviot is from the Cheviot hills of Scotland. They are very hardy, small framed sheep that are able to survive harsher conditions than most other breeds.


Rare Breeds Canada lists heritage breeds of goats along with descriptions of their characteristics.

To find farms raising heritage breeds of goats, go to the Canadian Registered Goat and Farmer Directory Services