About Santa Cruz SheepAbout Santa Cruz Sheep

Santa Cruz Sheep are from Santa Cruz Island, California, USA. There is considerable uncertainty as how and when sheep got to Santa Cruz island. It is believed that Merino, Rambouillet, and perhaps some Churro sheep are part of their ancestry. However, it is certain that they have been feral for the last 70 years. The Nature Conservancy acquired 88% of the island during the 1970's and began an eradication program in 1980.  

In 1988, twelve lambs were brought off the island by a team of Nature Conservancy and ALBC volunteers and were placed with five California breeders to begin a population rebuilding effort. The Santa Cruz Island sheep breed is an important genetic resource. Its historic background, long period of isolation, and adaptation to a challenging environment have given the breed an array of characteristics not found among commercial breeds.