Hampshire

Hampshire Sheep

Breed Type: Meat Breed
Country of Origin: England
Breed Association Website: hampshires.org

The Hampshire sheep was developed from the crossing of Southdowns and Wiltshire Horn-Berkshire/Knot crosses in Hampshire County in Southern England. Later improved using a Cotswold ram followed by two of the largest and best Southdown rams, the Hampshire breed was imported to North America for the first time in 1840. After being almost entirely killed off during the Civil War, the breed was re-introduced in 1865 and, since then, these larger meat sheep have become extremely popular throughout the nation for their rapid growth, efficient feed conversion, and carcass cutability. Given good pasture, these animals are known to be adaptable to various geographic regions and are not easily startled. In addition to their high-quality carcasses, Hampshire sheep are also noted as being quite prolific and good milkers.

Breed standards state that Hampshire sheep should have dark faces and broad muzzles with an unbroken wool cap from the neck over the forehead. From the eyes down, the face should be clear with the exception of some light feathering. Wool is desirable on the legs below the knee. Structurally, Hampshire sheep are expected to have legs placed under the corners of the body with amble elevation to balance the body size with height.

Although Hampshires are not a wool breed, their dense fleeces do take dye nicely and good for hard-wearing goods. Seeing as the strong, elastic wool (24-33 microns) does not felt easily, these items may also be machine washable.


This breed presented by

Sunset Springs Farms
Brietta Latham
12708 Hessong Bridge Road
Thurmont, MD 21788
(240) 457-0440

Warm up for the Festival with Winterfest 2023!

Two days of virtual spinning, knitting, and felting classes on January 28 and 29.

Registration opens November 19.

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A preview of our in-person classes for 2023 has been posted at sheepandwool.org/2022-festival/fiber-arts-workshops/. Full class information will be posted once we work out a few more details. Registration will open on February 12. #mdsw #mdsw2023 #celebrating50years #fiberartseminars #yarnlove #dyeing #felting #fiberprep #colortheory #spinning #handspinning #knitting ... See MoreSee Less
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Thank you to our wonderful instructors - Maggie Casey. Jillian Moreno, Esther Rodgers, Kira Dulaney, Alasdair Post-Quinn, and Kristen Walsh - for teaching virtually for our second annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival Winterfest. Thank you, too, Angela Muller, for your fabulous and informative lecture. And a resounding thank you to all the participants (and class assistants) that made Winterfest a success!See you at the live 50th annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on May 6 & 7. The class listings for that should be posted in the next week or so. Registration will open on February 12. ... See MoreSee Less
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Be sure to visit the Maryland Make it with Wool booth in the Main Exhibition Annex at the Festival this year...I hear that in honor of the 50th annual festival, they are planning a display of 50 outfits from past competitions!We are cheering on Jessica - our Maryland Make it with Wool Junior Champion - as she competes in the National Make It With Wool Contest in Fort Worth, Texas! #marylandmakeitwithwool #nationalmakeitwithwool ... See MoreSee Less
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