The history of the Rambouillet sheep is a fascinating one that began more than two centuries ago. The Rambouillet breed originated with Spain's famed Merino flocks, which were known from the earliest times as producers of the world's finest wool. The Spanish government was so protective of their Merino flocks that any exportation was forbidden.
This policy changed in 1786, however, when the King of Spain granted a request from the government of France and sent 359 carefully selected rams and ewes to help improve the native French stock. The sheep were sent to the Rambouillet farm near Paris where, according to government records, they have been bred since 1801.
Other Merino sheep were introduced into Germany during the last quarter of the 18th century, and German breeders made extensive use of Rambouillet sires as the sheep's fame spread throughout Europe. That is why many present day American Rambouillets can trace their ancestry back to either German von Homeyer flocks or the flocks of Rambouillet, France.
Mature Rambouillet rams weigh between 250-300 lbs (113-135 kg), ewes range from 150-200 pounds (68-90 kg). Mature ewes will have a fleece weigh of 8-18 lbs (3.6-8.1 kg) with a yield of 35-55%. The fleece staple length will vary from two to four inches (5-10 cm) and range in fiber diameter from 18.5-24.5 microns or 60-80 for the numerical count.
Breed Associations and Registries
Brian Culham, Culham & Livley Rambouillets, Williamston, Michigan CulhamB@AOL.Com
American Rambouillet Breeders Association, 1610 S State Rd 3261, Levelland, TX 79336 Phone: 806-894-3081
Who's Who in U.S. Sheep Breeds (poster), American Sheep Industry Assn., Inc.; 6911 S. Yosemite St. Suite 200; Englewood, CO 80112-1414
Phone: (303) 771-3500
Fax: (303) 771-8200