Evolved in the Tyne and Wear area specifically to breed with hardy hill sheep, producing a high quality meat and wool sheep. Sometimes referred to as the “Hexham Leicester”. A handsome tall sheep with a bold Roman nose. It is the most popular breed of the longwools.
The Blue Faced Leicester Longwool Heritage sheep breed, commonly known as the Bluefaced Leicester or BFL, is a sheep breed originating from the United Kingdom. It is a highly regarded breed known for its distinctive blue face, long wool, and elegant appearance.
Here are some key characteristics of the Bluefaced Leicester breed:
- Appearance: Bluefaced Leicesters have a distinctive blue or slate-colored face, which sets them apart from other breeds. They have a clean, open face with no wool covering. Their bodies are long and elegant, with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs.
- Wool: The breed is known for its high-quality, lustrous wool. The fleece is long, fine, and dense, with a unique crimp that gives it a distinctive wavy appearance. Bluefaced Leicester wool is highly sought after by handspinners and weavers for its softness and luster.
- Size: Bluefaced Leicesters are a medium to large-sized breed. Rams (males) typically weigh around 250-300 pounds (113-136 kilograms), while ewes (females) weigh around 150-200 pounds (68-91 kilograms).
- Purpose: The Bluefaced Leicester is primarily a longwool breed, valued for its wool production. Their fleeces are highly prized for making high-quality, fine-textured yarns and luxury textiles. They are not specifically raised for meat production but can be crossed with other breeds to produce prime lamb offspring.
- Adaptability: Bluefaced Leicesters are well-adapted to the upland areas of the United Kingdom, particularly in the North of England and Scotland. They are known for their hardiness and ability to thrive in challenging hill environments.
- Breed Societies: There are breed societies dedicated to the conservation and promotion of the Bluefaced Leicester breed, such as the Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders’ Association in the UK. These societies work to preserve the breed’s characteristics and support breeders.
The Bluefaced Leicester is a versatile breed that has made a significant impact on the British sheep industry. Its wool is highly regarded, and the breed’s unique appearance has also made it a favorite in the show ring.