The Greyface Dartmoor sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from the United Kingdom. It is a very rare breed today, originating around Dartmoor in south west England.
It is also known by some other names such as the ‘Improved Dartmoor‘ or simply as ‘Dartmoor‘. The breed actually descended from the local sheep breeds, which grazed the low ground in and around Dartmoor.
And improvements were carried out during the nineteenth century using the local Longwools (Notts) and the Leicester.
A breed association for the Greyface Dartmoor sheep breed was formed in 1909, named as ‘The Dartmoor Sheep Breeder’s Association‘.
The association was formed for promoting the breed beyond the South West and indeed the breed is widespread throughout the country, although mostly in very small flocks. Read some more information about this breed below.
The Greyface Dartmoor sheep are large in size and long-woolled animals. The breed is named and known for it’s distinctive facial markings.
They have long and lustrous fleece, but their face should be free of wool. They should be distinctive black or grey speckling around the nose. Both rams and ewes are usually polled, that means ‘they have no horns’.
Average live body weight of the fully grown Greyface Dartmoor ewes is between 60 and 70kg. And the mature ram’s average live body weight vary from 75 to 100kg.
The Greyface Dartmoor sheep is a meat sheep breed. And today it is raised mainly for meat production.
The Greyface Dartmoor sheep are very hardy animals. They are well suited to graze uplands and are able to cope with most weather conditions.
They are known for being placid and easy to bucket train. They have a level of resistance to footrot. The ewes are excellent mothers, and their lambing percentage is generally around 150%.
They have a little or few lambing problems. The lambs are born small, but are lively.
The ewes can produce excellent commercial lamb when crossed with a terminal sire. But they are not as prolific as other longwool sheep breeds.
Today, the Greyface Dartmoor sheep breed is raised mainly for meat production.
A purebred lamb can reach around 16-20kg weight within four months of age.