Cotswold – A Breed On The Brink

Cotswold Sheep always remind me of Chi.

Originally uploaded by sarah.eyre

Cotswold gets it’s name from the Cotswold area of England near the border of Wales. The name cotswold comes from the shelters or “cotes” for the sheep. There are several versions of the development of the breed. The breed as it stands today was imported into the US early in the 19th century and has been used to crossbreed to produce large framed lambs for market. The breed is also believed to be related to long wooled sheep the Romans brought up to England.

Longwools have been used over the years to produce fabrics for outerwear, upholstry and blankets as well as for floor coverings. As synthetic fibers have replaced wool for these uses, the importance of Cotswold and other longwool breeds has driven these breeds to become endangered. According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Cotswold are considered a threatened livestock breed.

The sheep themselves are large, polled breed. Ewes weighing 200 pounds while the rams can be upwards of 300 pounds. The breed has naturally colored individuals within its gene pool with shades that range from black to light grey. The locks have been referred to as poor mans mohair because the fiber has a nice bit of luster.

Don’t be afraid of longwools, give cotswold a try and let it surprise you.

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5 thoughts on “Cotswold – A Breed On The Brink

  1. One of my favorite breeds, both to look at and to spin. And I love that they come in colors, too! That “poor man’s mohair” has validity, but doesn’t do Cotswold justice.

  2. My brother has 3 (soon to be 5, he’s getting two more tomorrow) Cotswold sheep. His kids show them in local 4H fairs. I tried to spin the fleece but it was so very scratchy. I don’t think I would be able to wear anything knit out of it. Maybe we did something wrong?? It felt nothing like mohair to me… I’m relatively new to spinning though. His sheepies are cute though. I love their dreadlocks.

  3. here! here!

    I’ve raised many breeds of sheep – but these guys are my very favorite. They are kind, intelligent, and very devoted to each other. And the rams are docile like big ole puppies!

    As far as spinning, I find the fleece to be silky and oober lusterous. I also have some merino/corre X’s and while their wool appears to be ‘softer’, the cotswold is much more silky and smooth – it spins like a dream!

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