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Heritage sheep data base





Bovec sheep   EFABIS Data


International Name

Bovec sheep

Local Name

Bovška ovca


Tolmin, Bovec and surrounding area (Slovenia)

Breeding females


1.596 (2004),

2.079 (2007)

Trend of population size


Flock book established



Origin history

The Bovec sheep was formed in the upper valley of Soca and got its name from the town of Bovec. In the past centuries a breed of sheep has developed which we have named the Bovec sheep. Its roots probably reach back to the primary white sheep, which was also bred in other parts of the Alps, although there is very little reference of them in literature.


Breed description

The Bovec sheep breed is a distinctive dairy breed, and has a fine head structure and short ears. Its wool is rough, white, brown or black in colour, and is sheared off twice a year. The body is relatively small in size, having a horn-less head with short ears and short and slim legs; the body weight of rams ranges between 45 and 50 kg, while the standard weight for ewes is between 35 and 40 kg; height (at shoulder) ranges from 55 to 60 cm. The sheep can reach a larger frame and add up to 10 kg to their usual body weight provided that they are kept in flocks under good husbandry conditions and food ad libitum. Until today, the breeding goal has been the adaptation to harsh grazing and rearing conditions. Above the forest margin in the slopes of Krn, Kanin, Mangart and other mountain peaks, a vast area of grassland with short and juicy vegetation is available. These areas have always been used for pastures during the summer. The animals were pasturing in this mountainous grassland after weaning of lambs from June through September. It has been estimated that the entire population of pure breed animals of Bovec sheep contains just over 3700 animals and average flock is 51 animals. The milk yield of the Bovec sheep, despite its modest past, has gone up in the past few years thanks to better care, improved food supply and better health conditions. On average the milk yield is around 221 kg; containing 6.3 % fat and 5.5 % proteins. In better herds sheep can yield over 300 kg of milk.


Conservation activities

Conservation of breed by reproducing herds or animals: conservation programme running.


Contact: dr. Drago Kompan e-mail: Drago.Kompan@bfro.uni-lj.si


Action Heritage Sheep AGRI GEN RES 040 receives financial support from the European Commission, Genetic Resources in Agriculture, under European Commission Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004 AGRI GEN RES 2006 HERITAGE SHEEP