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.