The Southdown is one of the oldest purebred sheep breeds in the world. The breed originated centuries ago in the hills of Sussex, England, long know as the “Downs.”
There is little written history or description of the Southdown dating earlier than two hundred fifty years ago. The early Southdown was noted for some important qualities for which they have since become especially famous, they had a good leg, and their meat was excellent, possessing remarkable flavor.
Early literature indicates that Southdowns were among the animals brought into the English colonies as early as 1640.
The Southdown was developed in Sussex, England in the late 1700's and early 1800's and exported to the US shortly thereafter. In Canada it became known as the “Aberdeen Angus” of the sheep industry due to its ability to flesh out a small carcass.
Southdowns are excelling as terminal sires in commercial production flocks, receiving the final handshake in supreme champion drives all over the country and are the first choice of many youth, families and sheep producers.
Medium sized sheep-Moderate length, extremely heavily muscled-mature body weight; Rams 85-105 kg. Ewes 60-80 kg
Broad, well covered with wool, ears medium sized covered with hair or short wool grey to mouse brown in colour, muzzle broad, black nose, face medium length, grey to mouse brown
Well proportioned, muscular, free of wrinkles, blending smoothly into shoulders
Wide, compact, smooth, neatly laid in on top, level with back
Wide and deep, blending smoothly into body
Back, Loin & Rump
Back long, straight, wide strong and heavily muscled, loin long, wide, level and deeply muscled, rump long, wide, square at dock, carried out level, hindquarters large, full and muscled well down to the hock with outside muscling
Feet & Legs
Legs squarely placed and covered completely with wool, pasterns short and strong, colour to match face, hooves black
Short staple, medium white wool, uniform quality over entire fleece