• Romney

  • Ryeland

  • Dorset Horn

    Dorset Horn
  • Hampshire Down

    Hampshire Down
  • Dorset Down

    Dorset Down
  • Shropshire

  • Cheviot

  • English Leicester

    English Leicester
  • Lincoln

  • Southdown


The importance of preserving the unique genetic qualities of the old breeds of sheep led a group of concerned sheep breeders in Victoria to establish Heritage Sheep Australia in 2002.

Their aim is to protect, promote and secure the future of the breeds that played an important role in the foundation of the sheep and wool industry in Australia. Heritage Sheep Australia is affiliated with the Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association Limited

The Heritage breeds include longwool breeds whose fleece delights handspinners and weavers, and shortwool breeds renown for fine textured meat with excellent flavour.

Most of the Heritage sheep breeds have enjoyed past popularity but today,with only a small number of studs in many of the breeds, they face extinction in Australia without ongoing support. Heritage Sheep Australia believes that the genetic heritage of these sheep is to be treasured.

Whether you are a prime lamb producer, a craft person, or a small land holder there will be a Heritage sheep breed to suit you.

For more info contact Colin Chapman or Jacque Carr

In Australia, we are fortunate to have a diverse collection of heritage sheep breeds, each with its unique characteristics and historical significance. These breeds include the Lincoln, English Leicester, Cheviot, Southdown, Shropshire, Dorset Horn, Ryeland, Hampshire Down, Dorset Down, and Romney.

These heritage sheep breeds represent a precious treasure trove of biodiversity, a genetic heritage that is irreplaceable, especially given the current stringent border restrictions. They carry with them a wealth of traits that have allowed them to endure the test of time and thrive through the decades. These traits encompass robust health, exceptional foraging abilities, adaptability to varying climatic conditions, and strong maternal instincts.

It is noteworthy that all ten of these heritage breeds were introduced to Australia prior to 1945, with some making their way to our shores in the late 1800s. Originating from the United Kingdom, these breeds have left an indelible mark on our agricultural landscape and continue to contribute to the rich tapestry of Australian farming heritage.

Since then the heritage breeds have had quite an impact

  1. Ryeland and Corriedale have been crossed with Dorset Horn to produce the Poll Dorset
  2. Lincoln has been crossed with Merino to produce Corriedale
  3. Lincoln has been crossed with Merino to produce Polwath
  4. Southdown has been crossed with Texel to produce Aussiedown
  5. Romney has been crossed with Cheviot to produce Perendale
  6. Romney has been crossed with Cheviot to also produce Drysdale
  7. Southdown has been crossed with Suffolk to produce South Suffolk
  8. Dorset Down has been crossed with Southdown to produce the South Dorset Down


Special feature of Heritage Sheep Breeds at this year's

  • Saturday 2 March 2024
  • Simpson Recreation Reserve
  • Entries close 22 February 2024
  • Judging commences at 9.30 am
  • Enquiries to Barry Shalders: 0427 202 862

Heritage Breeds of Lamb may be found at some Farmers Markets:

  • Meatsmith - 273 Smith Street, Fitzroy, Victoria
  • Meatsmith - 227a Barkly Street, St Kilda, Victoria
  • Coloured Sheepie - Raw, organic coloured English Leicester and Romney fleeces
  • The Lucky Ewe - Rowena Jo Butler 112 High St. Oatlands, Tasmania
  • Beersheba Farm - English Leicester and Drysdale Fleece and Wool
  • Cashmere Connections - 4 Osborne Street, Maddingley, Victoria
  • Australian Sheep & Wool Show Vendors - Prince of Wales Showgrounds, Holmes Rd, Bendigo July each year