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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Breeds of Livestock - Bluefaced Leicester Sheep

Breeds of Livestock - Bluefaced Leicester Sheep

Bluefaced Leicester

bluefacedleicester-web-1.jpgAlso Known By: Hexham Leicester, Bluefaced Maine, Blue-headed Maine

The Bluefaced Leicester is of the English Longwool type and originated near Hexham in the county of Northumberland, England, during the early 1900's. The breed was originally developed to use in the production of high quality crossbred ewes which were pastured in the neighboring hills of the region. They originated from Border Leicester individuals selected for the blue face (white hairs on black skin) and finer fleeces. They are found primarily in Northern England, Scotland and Wales.

The average weight for mature rams is approximately 250 lbs (115 kg) with adult ewes weighing 175 lbs (80 kg). The prolificacy of the breed is good with the lambing percentage from mature ewes being reported to range from 220 to 250 percent. The wool is classed as demi-luster and fine. The average fleece weight is 2 to 4.5 pounds (1-2 kg), staple length is 8 to 15 cm and quality is 56's to 60's. These wool qualities appear to be passed on to the crossbred offspring.

Registries and Breed Societies



British Sheep and Wool, British Wool Marketing Board, Oak Mills, Station Rd., Clayton, Bradford. 112 pp.

British Wool Marketing Board, Oak Mills, Station Rd., Clayton, Bradford BD14 6JD UK Phone: Bfd. 882091

Fahmy, M.H. and I.L. Mason. 1996. Less Known and Rare Breeds. Chap 3.12, Prolific Sheep. (M.H. Fahmy, ed.), CAB International, University Press, Cambridge 542 pp.

Mason, I.L. World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds. Third Edition. C.A.B International. 1988


British Sheep and Wool, British Wool Marketing Board, Oak Mills, Station Rd., Clayton, Bradford. 112 pp.

Poster, British Wool Marketing Board, Clayton, Bradford, UK

John Thompson, Animal Photography, Marylebone Mews, London W1G 8PY.

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added May 19, 1998, updated June 26, 2003


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