The Shropshire is medium sized, with typical mature rams and ewes weighing 120kg and 80kg respectively. Shropshire Sheep are active and alert with a free action.
Head: Naturally clean soft black face, with a covering of wool on the poll. Rams should possess a bold masculine head.
Ears: Soft black in colour, of medium length, well set on.
Neck: Muscular and not too long.
Body: Well fleshed, long, deep and symmetrical. A broad, straight back with well-sprung ribs. Rump – quarters long and wide, dock well set on and gigots full and deep.
Legs: Medium length, of strong bone and upright joints, well set apart and soft black in colour.
Skin and wool: Cherry pink covered with dense, fine quality wool of good staple.
Receding wool above the eyes
Lack of wool around the base of the ears
Excessive black wool or patches of dark skin with no wool on the head, either in front of or between the ears
Coloured wool in the fleece
White patches or mottling on the face, ears and / or legs
Throatiness – being loose skin below the neck
Thick, coarse, long, pricked or drooping ears
Drooping rump (dock set low)
Coarse wool on the breeches
Sheep which vary significantly from the Breed Description should be carefully considered before registration.
Judges and inspectors are requested to adhere to the above breed standards.
BRITISH WOOL MARKETING BOARD’S CLASSIFICATION OF SHROPSHIRE WOOL
Wool Classification: Shortwool and Down
Staple Length: 10 to 15cm.
Fleece Weight: 2 to 3kg
Quality: 54s to 56s
Wool Description and Use:
The Shropshire is more completely covered with wool than any other Down breed and grows a particularly heavy, dense fleece. Its wool is fine with a pleasantly soft handle and is almost free from kemp and grey or black fibres. Although frequently used for woollen hosiery and knitting yarns, some Shropshire wool is used for worsted manufacture. Much of it is exported to European countries at the top stage –that is to say, after combing and before spinning. Hand-knitting wools are among the other products for which Shropshire wool is used. There is also considerable demand for Shropshire wool in Japan for filling Futons (sofa-beds).