The rich, curly locks that drape the bodies of Teeswater Sheep make it a natural supermodel among heritage sheep.
The breed is native to the Teesdale area of County Durham in England, where they were primarily a local breed 'till the 1920s. They were imported to the U.S. in the 1800s but dipped in popularity after the importation of other longwool breeds. At that point, the breed was faced with near extinction.
Grazed in the dales of the countryside, this large sheep breed was also used as sires in crosses with smaller hill sheep to produce Mashams for market production. This white polled breed – decorated with distinctive facial markings – is hardy, and useful for both meat and wool production.
The lustrous, low-lanolin, kemp-free fleece of Teeswaters is adored by hand spinners for its staple length and those curly locks. Fiber growth is up to one inch per month with little to no cross fibering. For meat purposes, the Teeswater is lean, with well-fleshed, square hindquarters.
Teeswater semen was imported to America at the end of the twentieth century and has been used to develop purebred Teeswaters. There is now reciprocity with the U.K. breed society for the international exchange of genetics.
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