Ouessant sheep at TIERART

Ouessant Sheep

The smallest sheep breed in the world


In the summer of 2018, a local man bought a large plot of forest and meadow land.

A few days after the purchase, he noticed that there were a few small sheep running around on the property and informed the previous owner. After all, he had only wanted to buy the property and not sheep! The previous owner, however, was also no longer interested in the sheep and simply replied something along the lines of "bought as seen, have fun with the sheep".

The newly involuntary sheep owner then turned to TIERART in desperation, and thus, TIERART became the new home of three mini sheep.

Ouessant sheep at TIERART

Small but mighty!

Adult Ouessant sheep weigh only 10-20 kg and are 40-50 cm high, making them the smallest sheep breed in the world. The undemanding and extremely robust animals originally come from the French Île d'Ouessant, which is located off the Breton west coast of France in the Atlantic Ocean. They are therefore also known as "Breton dwarf sheep".

There are various conjectures as to why a genetically small population developed on the island over time. The harsh climate and the sparse, nutrient-poor vegetation certainly contributed naturally. However, selection by humans also took place, as the largest animals were repeatedly taken from the population and selected for consumption.

Ouessant and Cameroon sheep at TIERART

Saved from extinction by rich private owners

Ouessant sheep are frugal, sturdy and undemanding in keeping. In relation to their body size, they also produce a large amount of wool. As productive wool suppliers, they were therefore once extremely popular.

However, as the islanders gradually began to crossbreed more and more large breeds of sheep for meat production, the small-bodied breed was on the verge of extinction on Ouessant.

Wealthy private individuals on the mainland began to take an interest in keeping the miniature sheep on their estates and to breed them more and more. Gradually, various associations were eventually formed to preserve the breed.

Facts about Ouessant Sheep

  • They come from: The breed comes from France from the island of Ouessant off the west coast of Brittany. Our three sheep come from a private property in Germany.
  • They like to eat: Ouessant sheep are extremely frugal and not choosy
  • They are: robust, undemanding and sure-footed; in many places they are used as "landscape keepers", e.g. in vineyards.
  • What the keepers say about us: The small Ouessant sheep are quite rare and definitely a highlight in our herd.

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