Finnish Landrace: Adaptable and Prolific


Originally uploaded by apv2007

My introduction to Finnish Landrace or Finnsheep was by Ron Parker through his herd of crossbred Finn/Lincolns many many years ago when Fibernet was a BBS. I still have yarn and a single lonely mitten from that fleece.   Alas, that herd was dispersed long ago and Ron now lives in Sweden.

Brought into the US in 1966 mainly for one characteristic, the ewes ability to produce and support multiple lambs, Finnsheep has become a popular breed to cross other breeds with. It is one of the progenitor breeds of the Polypay. Originating in the cold northern reaches of Finland, it can live off of rough forage and under both cold and hot conditions.

Finnsheep are related to Romanov, Shetland, and other Nordic short tailed breeds. It has a light carcass, which is not well liked by those producing market lambs. So the reason you see it being used to crossbreed with other breeds is to improve carcass while also improving lamb production.

When you examine the fleece you find a medium wool that has many characteristics of other luster wools. Most Finnsheep are single coated with the odd double coated individual. It has an organized open lock with a gentle wave. While white is the most common color found, some breeders have flocks producing naturally colored wool in black, fawn, grey, and brown as well as several patterns.

The American Finnsheep Breeders Association has a wonderful site focused on handspinning fleeces.

I still wonder where I lost that other mitten…..


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