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Wensleydale Sheep

Breed Standards

Wensleydale SheepBREED STANDARDS

The Wensleydale is a very large longwool sheep, described by the British Meat and Livestock Commission as "probably the heaviest of all our indigenous breeds." It is a visually striking sheep, having a bold and alert carriage accentuated by its broad, level back and heavy muscling in the hindquarters. White Wensleydales possess a distinctive deep blue head and ears, which should be clean except for a well-developed forelock of wool. Colored Wensleydales are seen from darkest black to palest silver with many shades and patterns in between. Both sexes are polled.

Today the breed is established throughout the United Kingdom and extends into mainland Europe.


  • Mature weight: Rams -300 lbs. Ewes - 250lbs.
  • Average prolificacy: Yearling ewe - 200% Mature ewes - 250%.
  • Twin lambs will average 13 pounds each at birth with a growth rate that enables ram lambs to reach 160 lbs. at 21 weeks.
  • Average lamb weight at 8 weeks: Singles - 57 lbs. Twins - 48 lbs.

Wensleydale wool is the finest and most valuable luster longwool in the world.

Purebred Wensleydales in England
Wensleydales Wensleydale

Average micron count of Wensleydale fleece is 33-35 with a staple length of 8-12 inches and an annual fleece weight of 13-20 pounds.

Wensleydale fleeces are entirely kemp free as a result of the unique characteristics of the wool-producing follicles. This special quality is genetically transmitted to cross-bred lambs, characterizing the Wensleydale ram as perhaps the leading wool improving sire in the world.

Breed standards have been set by the Wensleydale Longwool Breeders Association, U.K.

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