Karst, Istria (Slovenia)
Trend of population size
Flock book established
Origin – history
In the region of
Karst and Istria sheep breeders have traditionally bred domestic,
autochthonous sheep which they called Istrianka, Karst Sheep,
Primorska sheep and even a Rough Wool Sheep. In those days sheep
breeding was well developed in the above mentioned parts of Slovenia.
The short and long Transhumanca was well known. Istrian sheep were
bred mainly for their unusual characteristics: their distinct long-stepping
walk and ability to graze in rocky terrain.
Pramenka is of quite a large frame, owing to the highly placed torso
and long strong legs. Its udders are shaped right, fastened high,
with large teats. Its slim head, with the nose’s crest and jutting
out ears, is placed on a long neck. Thus, the sheep can use their
slim snout to find even the best hidden blades of grass in between
the rocks and boulders of Karst. The sheep’s multicolored wool does
not cover the animals’ entire body; their legs and belly are naked
of wool, and in other parts they are only covered with shaggy fleece.
As with other breeds, Istrian sheep are not all alike, and this
characteristic has given way for the animals to be named after the
location rather than their appearance (since the sheep look
different from one breeder to the next). The breeders bred white,
black, spotted, patchy sheep, short-eared sheep, horned sheep, horn-less
sheep, and the list goes on and on.
Rams will reach up to 95 kg in body weight, while the ewes range
from 60 to 75 kg. Female lambs were bred in their second year, while
horned rams were bred in their first season.
Istrian sheep have a couple of traits in common: their tenaciousness
and adaptability to relatively rough surroundings. Today, we are
able to get a lot more out of these sheep because of the improved
husbandry and better food breeders provide. The litter size is 1.19
liveborn lambs and the sheep give 119 kg of milk in their lactation
period (lenght 191 days). The milk contains on average 7.2 % milk
fat and 5.9 % protein while some will give milk with over 8 % fat
and 6 % protein.
breed by reproducing herds or animals: conservation programme
dr. Drago Kompan e-mail: