Border Leicester

Breed Type: Wool Breed
Country of Origin: England
Breed Association Website: ablasheep.org

The Border Leicester breed was developed by the Cully brothers in Northumberland, England in 1767 from the crossing of Leicester rams with Teeswater ewes. Some believe that Cheviot blood was also introduced prior to the firm establishment of the breed in 1850. While the Leicester breed was first introduced by George Washington, there are no reports of Border Leicesters being imported into the U.S. The breed was first recognized in the States in 1920 as the result of a census. Since their establishment, Border Leicesters have been used in the improvement and development of other longwool breeds.

These medium-sized sheep are easily recognizable by their characteristic heads which are free of wool with long, erect ears and an arched Roman nose. Their bare legs and head make it easy to shear them for their long, lustrous wool. Traditional Border Leicester fleeces are between 38 and 30 microns and have “pencil” locks with tips ending in small curls. Over the course of a year, these animals grow 8-12 pounds of wool which will yield 70% after scouring. The fleece of a Border Leicester is extremely versatile – it can be spun for texture or for smoothness, felts well, and is easily dyed. Although a longwool breed, some of the finer wool can even be used in everyday garments like sweaters and socks.

Border Leicesters are easy to manage due to their maternal nature, easy keeping, and calm temperament. They are prolific, heavy milkers, and make excellent mothers. When kept on pasture, they are good foragers and can get by with less feed. These traits, along with how easy they are to handle, make them extremely desirable animals for any shepherd.


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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Correction - registration for our our in-person classes for 2023 will open at 2:00 pm ET on Sunday, February 19, not February 12 as previously posted.A preview of the classes has been posted at sheepandwool.org/2022-festival/fiber-arts-workshops/. Full class details, including dates and times, will be posted in the next day or two. #mdsw #mdsw2023 #celebrating50years #fiberartseminars #yarnlove #dyeing #felting #fiberprep #colortheory #spinning #handspinning #knitting ... See MoreSee Less
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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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