External Evaluators

Final Technical Report

Work Packages

Project - Meetings

Other Meetings




Heritage sheep data base





Istrian Pramenka   EFABIS Data


International Name

Istrian Pramenka

Local Name

Istrska pramenka


Karst, Istria (Slovenia)

Breeding females


752 (2004),

865 (2007)

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.


Breed description

The Istrian 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.


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