Alpines Steinschaf are mountain sheep
from the Eastern Alps of Austria and southern Germany. They are used for wool
and meat… and for keeping the grass down.
Alpines Steinschaf sheep are fine-boned
and small to medium sized. Rams weigh 55 to 80 kg (121 to 176 lb), and ewes 40
to 60 kg (88 to 132 lb).
They are found in all coat colors
and sometimes their face and ears are marked with black. Their face and lower
legs are without wool and their legs are thin but strong, and their hooves are
hard. Rams are often horned, but ewes usually are polled. Their ears are
carried horizontally or slightly drooping.
They are one of four breeds in the
Steinschaf group (the other three are Krainer Steinschaf, Montafoner Steinschaf,
and Tiroler Steinschaf sheep). It is believed that they are derived from the
mediaeval Zaupelschaf type, or from the older Torschaf type. They are also believed
to be the oldest sheep breeds of the eastern Alps.
At the beginning of the 1900’s
they were widely found in throughout Europe; however by 2009 they were was
named the "endangered livestock breed of the year". In 2014, it they
were listed as "extremely endangered" and on the red list of
endangered animal breeds of the GEH. A total population of 491–650 was reported
by Austria in 2012, and Germany reported 791 head in 2013.