Geographical Range Great Britain (where first domesticated); introduced to the United States
Habitat Various habitats, associated with human settlements
Scientific Name Ovis aries aries
Conservation Status Not listed by IUCN

This is a very old breed of sheep from the Cotswold region of England, bred for its thick, rich wool. Ranchers shear off the animals’ fleece in the spring to make warm sweaters, blankets, and rugs. Weavers like Cotswold wool because it’s easy to spin, doesn’t shrink a lot, and takes dyes well.

In addition to its superb wool, the Cotswold is a hardy sheep known for its gentle nature. They’re easy to keep because of their strong herding instinct, a trait they share with their wild cousins.

Cotswold sheep were first brought to the United States in the1800s. Though it’s a rare breed today, it’s once again becoming popular as people re-discover the virtues of its silky fleece.

All sheep are grazing animals, raised for either wool, milk or mutton (meat) production. There are hundreds of varieties of domestic sheep, a breed suitable for every kind of pasture, climate and altitude.