France has around sixty sheep breeds, some of which are subject to conservation by the Bureau of Genetic Resources (BRG). If in the past, sheep were raised for their meat, their milk, their wool and the leather from their skin, today they are raised for two main purposes: meat and milk. Focus on the different French breeds…
Tarasconnaise: Get to know the Tarasconnaise better
The Tarasconnaise is a sheep breed distinguished by its curly wool and the presence of horns in both sexes. It originates from Syria, but it is to the valley of Tarascon-sur-Ariège that it owes its name. It is now one of the most profitable suckler breeds in the Pyrenees.
A medium-sized breed, rams measure almost 80 cm for an average weight of 80 kg, while ewes can reach 65 cm for around 60 kg.
Suffolk: Discover the Suffolk sheep breed
The Suffolk breed comes from the crossing of Southdown ram and Norfolk sheep. She landed in France towards the end of the 19th century and then the first herd was formed in 1925. Their herdbook was created in 1967.
The Suffolk is a heavy sheep breed since rams can weigh between 12 to 15 to kg while ewes weigh between 70 to 90 kg.
Charollais sheep: The Charollais sheep breed
Resulting from the crossing between English Leicester rams and French Charolais ewes, the Charollais sheep was recognized as a breed in its own right in 1974. Its genealogical book, meanwhile, was established in 1963. Nowadays, it is among the most appreciated and exported sheep breeds in the world both for their meat and to allow the improvement of other lamb names.
Red of the West: The sheep breed the red of the west
The western red is a breed of farmed and butchered sheep from the Maine-Anjou region. She is the result of crossbreeding ewes from the region and males from England. The breed, newly created, obtained its recognition in 1963. Its family tree was created five years later. The western red is identifiable by its slightly pinkish redhead.
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Texel: The sheep root Texel
Texel is a sheep root originating from the island of the same name. It was introduced in France in 1933. Today, the French herd numbers up to 100,000 ewes, 90% of which are purebred. This is especially the case in the northeast of France as well as in the centre-west. This sheep has many qualities, hence it’s export throughout the world. It can easily be raised on the same pasture as cattle.
Mouton Ile-de-France: sheep breed Mouton Ile-de-France
Born towards the end of the 19th century, the sheep called Ile-de-France is a breed created at the national sheepfold in Rambouillet. It comes from crosses between the display and merino breeds. Since the 1970s, the herd has been constantly improved through rigorous selection. France is now home to nearly 240,000 ewes, which are located mainly in the centre and in the north of the country. Many countries breed them too.
Dairy Lacaune: All you need to know about the Dairy Lacaune sheep breed
Lacaune laitière refers to an unknown breed of sheep and yet it is to her that we owe Roquefort cheese. These ewes produce a rich milk ideal for making cheese with character. They originate from the Tarn and were exported to improve the milk production of hardy breeds. They represent today the most important breed of sheep in France.