What is a Jacob Sheep?
A Jacob sheep is a primitive, domestic, multi-horned, black or
lilac (deep gray or blue/purple cast) sheep with white spots.
The Jacob is an ancient breed, sometimes referred to as a
primitive breed. They are small in stature, with mature ewes
weighing 80-120 pounds, and rams weighing 120-180 pounds. Seen
from a distance or after shearing, observers often remark that
Jacobs look like goats.
Both males and females are horned, generally one or two pairs,
with some rams and ewes having up to six horns. The ram has
larger and more striking horns. The two-horned ram has the
classic horizontal double curled horn; the four-horned ram has
two vertical center horns, which may be up to two feet or more
in length, and two smaller side horns, which grow down along the
sides of the ram's head. The horns on the ewe are smaller in
diameter, shorter in length and appear more delicate than those
of the ram.
Both rams and ewes exhibit the black markings, some of which are
breed specific and some are random. Breed specific markings
occur as black patches on the muzzle, around the eyes, nape of
the neck, ears, pasterns, knees and hocks. The desired Jacob
face is often referred to as "Badger-faced" with black cheeks
and muzzle with a white blaze down the front of the face. The
skin around the eyes and nose should be black. Random spots
occur on the rest of the body and legs. The color pattern is
approximately 50% black to white, though a great variation in
the amount of black occurs. Each Jacob has distinctive markings
which enables the shepherd to identify specific sheep at a
distance. In addition to breed specific markings, there may be
evidence of markings that are common in particular lines: large
muzzle markings, lack of leg markings, lack of muzzle marking,
The Jacob fleece is open, soft and light with little grease
(lanolin). The black wool grows out of black skin and the white
wool grows out of white or pink skin, though mottling of the
skin and freckling of the wool is common. Black wool may
sun-bleach to a spectrum of browns. The white and black wool may
be blended before spinning to form various shades of gray and
brown. The colors may also be separated after shearing to
produce various shades of yarn from a single fleece. The fleece
generally weighs 3-6 pounds and varies in crimp and fineness.
Staple length is generally 3-5 inches and may be up to 7 inches.
The wool is considered to be a medium grade (Bradford count
46-54). Jacob sheep also have varying amounts of white, kinky,
coarse wool (kemp) in their fleece. More primitive lines still
have lambs that are born with guard hair that is shed at 3-6
months. The hairy birth coat is protective against rain and
Jacob ewes generally cycle in the cooler months of the fall
(cooler weather also restores the potency of the ram) and have
one or two lambs (triplets are not rare) in the spring. Ewes
will begin to cycle during the first fall following their birth
and most often the ewe's first lamb is a single. The Jacob ewe
is an excellent protective mother. Because of her primitive
anatomy with a low tail dock, she is a very easy-lambing ewe.
The lambs will exhibit their spotting and horn characteristics
at birth, with the horn buds more readily apparent on ram lambs.
Lambs may be weaned at two months of age, but many shepherds to
not separate lambs and allow the ewe to wean the lamb at about 4
months of age.
Our first Jacob purchased as a beloved pet - "GIGGLES"
GIGGLES a special old girl who did not meet the breed standard
so was spayed. But her fantastic Jacob temperament has earned
her beloved status in our flock, she is ever the flock guardian,
perennial babysitter to youngsters, and alarm to protect the
entire flock. Her value is priceless. And we credit her for our
love of the Jacob breed.
What more could you ask for!
Top Quality bloodlines. Ram available for
Lambs for sale by reservation.
Due to our work and show schedule,
farm visits are by appointment
Myakka City, FL 34251
Sovreign Farms has completed its
Genotype testing for the Tay-Sach's carrier gene.
Below is an
excellent article written by Fred Horak, as published in the
ALBC Newsletter Jan/Feb 2009,
sheep shed light on Tay Sach's Disease
JSBA (Jacob Sheep Breeders Assoc)
Jacob Sheep Breeder's Association
JSC (Jacob Sheep Conservancy)
ALBC (American Livestock Breeders
American Livestock Breeds