Leicester Longwools

There are many websites that will give a more thorough history of the Leicester Longwools than will follow on this page, but I would like to give a few brief points about this interesting breed of sheep for those casually passing through. 

The Leicester Longwool sheep was developed by Robert Bakewell in Leicestershire, England during the 1700's using selective breeding, the first use of modern animal breeding techniques for livestock.  Through his use of breeding "in-and-in" he was able to fix and even exaggerate those characteristics he deemed desirable.  For example, the
preference of that time was for fatty shoulder mutton and Bakewell bred the Leicester sheep to exhibit such a charecteristic.  If you take a close look at the profile picture of a Leicester Longwool, you will notice the "rectangular" shape of the body, especially the blocky chest (compare the profile picture of a Leicester Longwool to that of a modern breed).  Unfortunately, preferences change and this fatty forequarter eventually fell out of favor, leading to the demise of the Leicester Longwool breed.

According to the breed standard for the Leicester Longwool Sheep, as found on the LLSBA website, the head should be neat and cleanly chiseled with a slight tapering from the ears to the nostrils.  A forelock should be present, but not overly abundant; there should be no tendency for wool blindness.  The neck should be short to medium in length, strong and level with the back.  The shoulders should be upright and wide over the top with no tendency to dip between them.  As alluded to earlier, the chest should be deep and wide with a prominent breast.  The back should be wide and level. It should be well filled behind the shoulders, resulting in great girth and thickness through the heart girth. The loin is long, wide and deep. The ribs should be well sprung