Finnsheep or Finnish Landrace, as they are their native country of Finland, were first imported to North America by the University of Manitoba, Canada in 1966. Since that time, only a few importations have occurred through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1968) and private breeders in Canada. Progeny from the Canadian importation were then brought into the United States by private producers.
The breed is considered to be several hundred years old, descending from the Mouflon that live in the wild on Sardinia and Corsica. They are also said to be related to other Scandinavian short-tailed sheep. Their origin is probably related to their high adaptability to the rugged climate and the high roughage feed available.
Sheep Breeders Association formed in 1918. This organization directs the improvement of the breed in Finland with an emphasis on litter size, mothering ability, growth rate and wool production.
In the last 15 years, more research work and data has been compiled in the United States involving Finnsheep and their crosses than any other breed of sheep. A steady increase in registration numbers attest to the breed's acceptance and viable place in the sheep industry.
Mature Finnsheep rams will range in weight from 150-200 pounds (68-90 kg), females are slightly lighter with a range of 120-190 pounds (55-86 kg).
The fleece from a mature ewe will range in weight from four to eight pounds (1.8-3.6 kg) with a high yield percentage. The fleeces have a numerical count of 50-60 or 23.5-31.0 microns with a staple length of three to six inches (7.5-15 cm). While white is the predominate fleece color on the breed in the North America, they are found in a number of natural colors in Finnland.
Breed Associations and Registries
Finnsheep Breeders Association, Inc.
Who's Who in U.S. Sheep Breeds(poster), American Sheep Industry Ass., Inc.; 6911 S. Yosemite St. Suite 200; Englewood, CO 80112-1414
Phone: (303) 771-3500
Fax: (303) 771-8200