Rideau Arcott, or just Rideau, sheep are one of three
Canadian breeds. Their development began in 1968 at Agriculture Canadas Animal
Research Centre in Ottawa when the Centre's Suffolk, Shropshire, and Dorset
sheep were combined with imported breeds: Finnish Landrace and East Friesian.
In 1974, the Rideau was closed to the introduction of new genetic material.
From 1974 to 1977, the numbers within the breed were multiplied
with minimal culling to broaden the genetic base. From 1977 to 1986, selection
emphasis was on high fertility and the potential for year round lambing and to
a lesser extent retail cut yield. In 1988 and 1989, the breed was released to
nucleus flock owners.
Since 1989, the breeds popularity has grown rapidly. Rideau
sheep should be used in commercial flocks to improve the maternal traits within
that flock. Approximately 50% of Rideau ewes carry three lambs or more during
pregnancy and another 40% carry twins.