XIII Assyrian c. 50 B.C.

Jacob Sheep

The Jacob sheep takes its name from a story in the Book of Genesis, which relates how Jacob became a selective breeder of pied sheep to give you a sense of how long this breed has been extant. "I will go aboute all thy shepe this daye, and separate fro all the shepe that are spotted and of dyverse colours, and all blacke shepe among the lambes and the partie and spotted among the kyddes: And then such will be my reward." The fyrst book of Moses, called Genesis, William Tyndale, 1530.

Jacob sheep is an ancient (primitive) domestic multi-horned breed of sheep. A non-improved breed, the Jacob is distinguished by their piebald (spotted) fleece of a dark colour (black, which may bleach in the sun to a variety of browns, chocolate and deep grey or lilac with blue/purple cast) growing out of black skin, and bright white growing out of white or pink skin. The Jacob fleece is open, soft and light with little lanolin and staple fleece from four to seven inches in length. If separated at shearing the various shades can be used for yarn featuring all natural coloured fabric. In that each Jacob has distinctive markings a shepherd is able to identify specific sheep at a distance, they are an eager-to-please and curious breed always seeking handouts and consequently will come to you fairly easily once their attention in gained.

Both rams and ewes are horned, but this varies greatly from generally one or two pairs (two or four horns) with some having up to six horns. They are relatively small in stature, mature ewes weighing between 80-120 pounds, the ram 120-180 pounds.

Jacob Sheep in the Borders