Ouessant (also known Ushant, Breton Island Dwarf, and Mouton
d Ouessant) sheep are a Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds and are one
of the smallest sheep in the world. They originated on Ile d Ouessant, a small
island off the coast of Brittany, France. The average body height of the mature
ewes is around 18 inches at the shoulder. And the mature rams stand around 19
inches tall at the shoulder.
Most of them are dark brown or black; but sometimes they are
white. The average thickness of their wool is 27 to 28 microns. They are
suitable for fine knitting yarns and soft weaving yarns. The ewes are polled,
while the rams are horned. And the rams have relatively large horns as compared
to their body.
According to the Ouessant Sheep Society of Great Britain,
“The exceptionally small size of the Ouessant is attributed to the poor grazing
on the island, which led to the selection of small sheep for breeding. The
breed almost disappeared and was saved from extinction by a group of
Aristocrats, who allowed the sheep to graze on the land surrounding their
chateaux.” Today, the Ouessant sheep are a pretty rare breed, and they are
being bred in a number of European countries.
Today they are raised in a number of European countries
including France, Germany, and United Kingdom.