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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Breeds of Livestock - Rouge de Roussillon Sheep

Breeds of Livestock - Rouge de Roussillon Sheep

Rouge de Roussillon

rougeduroussillon-1.jpgAlso Known By: Roussillon Red (English), Rouge du Littoral

In the Eastern Pyrenees and some parts of the Aude and Hérault areas of France, there used to be a particular type of sheep, special because of its color and origin, something between the local 'Merino'-type sheep and North African breeds.

In 1989, the 'Ferme Conservatoire' was perhaps the only place with the structure to take on a few of the last animals of the 'Rouge de Roussillon' breed, from the only flock where an effort had been made to preserve the pure breed. We hesitated to take a mediterranean animal to the oceanic climate of Bordeaux and so we only bought 12 animals, while the rest of the flock was dispersed. Further inquiries revealed a huge interest in these animals, and also the difficulties we would have in breeding from such a small group of animals, which were already showing signs of inbreeding. For this reason, we decided to implement an 'absorption cross-breeding' program between the 'Rouge de Roussillon' and 'Limousine' breeds, where the 'Limousine' male is used to mate with successive generations of 'Rouge de Roussillon' females. To date, several hundred of these animals (first, second, third and fourth generations) have been carefully selected to obtain a 'Rouge de Roussillon' breed with a better genetic variability.

We also found out that the Nuremberg Zoo had imported, 20 years ago, a few of these animals. The director, Dr. Muhling, kindly offered us two males, which helped to fix this breed, as did the small flock we bought from M. Wieland in Bavaria.

The breed is white with red or pied heads and legs, with red kemp fibers under the neck. Both sexes are polled.


    Ferme Conservatoire de Leyssart, Theres Kohler & Dominique Massoubre, Leyssart, F - 33660 Puynormand ,05 57 49 62 82,

    Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.


    Ferme Conservatoire de Leyssart, Theres Kohler & Dominique Massoubre, Leyssart, F - 33660 Puynormand ,05 57 49 62 82,


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added February 27, 2002


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