The Origin of Shetland Sheep

Shetland Sheep

Shetland Sheep are a hardy breed of sheep known for their fine wool and small size. They originate in the Shetland Isles which are a part of Scotland. Conditions in the Shetland Isles are very windy and winters can be bitter cold. This breed of sheep was able to survive in these conditions for many years even on pastures with limited nutrition.


Shetlands are considered a primitive breed. They are small and typically will have 1-2 lambs in the spring. Their breed is low-maintenance and it is rare for the ewes to require assistance with lambing. Lambs are typically 4-6 lbs.  

Why we Love this Breed

One of the reasons our family chose this breed was that they are low maintenance. This breed was easy to accommodate for pasture and shelter and was great for a hobby farm.

Another reason we chose this breed, was for their beautiful fleeces of fine wool. Fine wool breeds like Shetlands have a wool that is softer than the wool from other breeds and therefore better for spinning and creating sweaters, blankets, and other clothing items. 

About the Shetland Isles

The Shetland Isles are known not only for their sheep, but also for beautiful scenery, small villages, and is a great travel destination. The Shetland Isles is where Fair Ilse knitting was first created and continues to be the place that many talented knitters and artisans live and continue their art. Fishing is the main economic driver there. We’ve have never visited the Shetland Isles, but we have learned as much as we can about them. We hope to someday visit this place where our sheep breed originates. 

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