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Heritage sheep data base





Cheviot   EFABIS Data


International Name

Cheviot Sheep

Local Name



Cheviot Hills, Scottish Borders

Breeding females


77.344 approx

Trend of population size


Flock book established



Origin history

The cheviot originates in the Cheviot hills in the Scottish Borders. There are records of hardy sheep in this area as early as 1372. The Cheviot is descended from these.


Breed description

Smaller than the North Country Cheviot, the ewes have fine hard white hair on the face and over the crown, as well as on the legs. The fleece is dense and uncoloured. Rams can have horns
The breed is native and lives at altitudes up to 1,000 meters, with little assistance in severe weather. It is noted for its hefting instinct.
It is now found mainly on the Scottish Borders and has been exported throughout the world. The breed is used for the production of meat and wool. The hill lamb is late maturing, keeping both its fresh lamb colour and its teeth through to the spring.
The ewes are hefted onto the hill, draft ewes being taken down the hill every year, and ewe lambs added annually.
The Cheviot rams have been used extensively in Wales on the Welsh ewes for the development of the Brecknock Cheviot and in the Scottish / English Borders, Cheviot draft ewes crossed with the Border Leicester produced the Bluefaced Leicester.
The main importance of the Cheviot is prime lamb production.
Due to its geographical location this breed was endangered in the 2001 FMD outbreak.
The Flock Book was established in 1892.


Conservation activities

The breed society shows at the Mordun Institute, agricultural shows and produces promotional literature. Breed contributes to the sense of community through rural activities and crafts.
Cryopreservation of semen, NSP storage with 6416 doses

Contact: The Cheviot Sheep Society, Secretary, Ms I J McVittie, Holm Cottage, Langholme, DG13 0JP
                Web site - www.cheviotsheep.org

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