Trend of population size
Flock book established
Origin – history
Sheep have grazed
the South Downs of Sussex for centuries with the modern Southdown
Sheep descended from these. 200 years ago John Ellman of Glynde
improved the sheep by selection within that original breed. In the
mid 20th century there was a move to reduce the size of the sheep
which resulted in a fattier carcass and a less hardy animal.
The Southdown has been exported around the world and was for many
years the main sire used for the production of New Zealand
By 1987 the breed in the UK was reduced in numbers to about 1300
breeding ewes. This trend was reversed when a small number of
breeders worked to revert to the earlier type and improve vitality
by using imported French and New Zealand bloodlines.
The Southdown is
now making its mark as a small farm meat producer, well suited to
the modern market.
It produces a fast growing, prime lamb which as very marketable.
The rams reach a weight of 90 Kg, with the ewes up to 68 Kg. The
rams are excellent for crossbreeding, producing good, marketable
The sheep are polled, with a fine, dense wool of even colour, not
black. It is docile and easy to manage with an inherited tolerance
to close confinement in fold or shed.
There has been a flock book since 1893. Records are kept of all
pedigree rams and ewes.
Southdown lamb marketing scheme for flocks within the South Downs
National Park. The SW Regional breeders Trust is applying for
funding from the Exmoor National Park Scheme. A study is being
undertaken into the relative merits of the progeny of the Southdown,
Texel and Suffolk rams.
Cryopreservation of semen, NSP Semen Archive storage, 3.567 doses.
The breed society is the Southdown Sheep Society
Secretary: Mrs. Gail Sprake, Meens Farm, Capps Lane, All Saints,
Suffolk IP19 0PD. Tel: 01986 782251