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Dalesbred Sheep


International Name

Dalesbred Sheep

Local Name



Yorkshire Dales. Great Britain

Breeding females


20.875 approx

Trend of population size


Flock book established



Origin history

The breed has originated from the Swaledale and the Scottish Blackface and the animals can survive in the harsh environmental conditions and are well adapted to climatic changes. The breed is also noted for its extended productive life due to exceptional tooth retention.


 Breed description

The breed is white with round, low horns, and has a black face and a distinctive white mark above each nostril, the end of the muzzle becoming grey. The legs also have black and white markings. The wool coat is plentiful, and curly on the outside, with a dense undercoat. 

The Dalesbred is found in the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding area. The breed is used for the production of meat and wool.  The ewes weigh 45 60 kg, the rams, 55 75 kg.

Ewes have a fecundity rate of 1.20-1.40. On the hill most female lambs are kept for pure-bred lambing for the first three or four crops, producing good wethers for finishing at home or for sale as stores, and then they are mainly sold down the hill as draft ewes for crossbreeding. The half-bred breeding sheep are in turn sold for use in lowland flocks.

Dalesbred ewes are often crossed with Teeswater rams to produce the Masham, which is one of the most famous of British cross-breds.


A large proportion of the breed is hefted and due to its geographical location the breed was endangered in the 2001 FMD outbreak.

The flock book was established in 1931 with the rams and ewes registered with pedigree information. 


Conservation activities


The breed is an important factor in the maintenance of the Dales landscape, including helping with maintaining the flora and fauna specific to the areas it grazes. 

Exsitu Cryopreservation of semen, NSP 1153 doses


Contact The breed society is the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders Association

                 Sec Dalesbred Sheep Breeders Association Ltd
                 Secretary: J Whitaker, Gib Hey Cottage, Chipping, Preston, Lancashire

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