Also Known By: Pecora della Roccia or del Sasso (Val Venosta, Italy), Tiroler Steinschaf
The Steinschaf is a direct descendent of the now extinct Zaupelschaf. It had developed characteristics that made it perfect for life in the high mountains of in the Eastern Alpine regions.
In the beginning of the 20th century the Steinschaf still roamed the meadows of Bavaria, Germany. Especially the areas around Berchtesgaden, Traunstein, and Rosenheim where its home. In Austria, its range was mainly in the Salzburg area. Pure bred Steinschafe could also be found in tucked away valleys of Northern and Eastern Tyrol, Austria, as well as Southern Tyrol, Italy. By 1964, less than 1000 Steinschafe were counted.
Breeds closely resembling the Steinschaf are:
The Montafoner Schaf, living in the Austrian area of Vorarlberg, The Krainer Steinschaf from the northwestern part of Slovenia. The Tyrolean Steinschaf is a cross between the original Steinschaf and the Bergschaf.
In 1989-90, a few breeders decided to find the original type of the Steinschaf, to try to keep the breed going. The original Steinschaf used to be a dual-coated, small, and wiry high mountain sheep, weighing 28-30 kg. Hard hoofs supported very thin, but strong legs. Both sexes had horns and small heads, free of wool. Noses where straight. Short and pointed ears stuck out sideways. The tail was long and thin. It was bred twice a year and it had 20-70% twins.
For the modern Steinschaf following breeding goals are to be met:
A robust, small to medium-sized sheep with a coarse, dual-coated fleece, that can be of all colors and markings. Ewes weigh 40-50 kg, rams weigh 55-67 kg.
It would benefit the breed if it could be kept exclusively on high alpine meadows, in order to retain its excellent characteristics.
Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefaehrdeter Haustierrassen e.V., Schwerpunkt Schafe und Ziegen, Postfach 1218, 37202 Witzenhausen, Germany
Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.