Suffolk Sheep are America’s Most Common Breed of Sheep

The Suffolk sheep breed is one of the most popular sheep breeds in the U.S.

The Suffolk sheep breed was originally called Southdown Norfolks or just Black Faces. According to experts from Domestic Animal Breeds, their skin is soft to the touch!

"They are a very energetic breed with a highly muscled frame that shows their great stamina. They have pink skin that is soft to the touch and produces a top-quality, high-grade sheepskin."

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Look how adorable Suffolk sheep are in these Instagram pics!


Roy's Farm explains that this breed of domestic sheep is from the United Kingdom.

"It was originally developed in England as the result of crossing Southdown rams on Norfolk Horned ewes. The result of this cross was an improvement over both parent sheep breeds. It is a black-faced, and open-faced breed and it is raised mainly for meat production."

Breed characteristics

The Suffolk sheep are hardy and resourceful. Here's a breed overview for those researching the breed:

  • The Suffolk sheep grow to a large size range of 180-250 pounds in ewes. The rams can reach 350 pounds.
  • They live a long time! Their lifespan ranges from 11 to 13 years.
  • The majority of farmers keep Suffolk sheep for meat production.  Some keep them for wool. 
  • The breed also does well in conditions ranging from damp to dry pastures or paddocks. 

These experts refer to Suffolk sheep as "easy keepers," so this is a breed we'd love!

What are they used for?

Suffolk sheep are raised mainly for meat production but are also good for wool production. 

Interesting facts about these sheep

Did you know?

  • All sheep are herbivores. They rely on eating grass, leaves, hay and scrub growth.
  • The Suffolk breed is the right choice when you're looking to raise lamb and mutton.
  • This breed is easily recognized as the large breed, black-faced sheep are found on farms throughout the U.S. Everyone knows that black head.
  • If you need a resource contact the United Suffolk Sheep Association and breed information can also be found at the Suffolk sheep society.

 This meat breed is America's most common breed of sheep in the sheep industry.

Are you familiar with this sheep breed? Please leave us a comment below!

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