Teeswater Longwool Heritage Conservation Breed

teeswater wool swatch

19th Century

The Teeswater, bred in Teesdale County Durham. Known for its longevity and prolific breeding ability

Fleece Details

Fleece Weights: 3-6 KG
Microns: 32-34
Staple Length: 15-30cm

Breed History

The Teeswater sheep is a heritage breed of sheep that originated in the Teesdale area of Northern England, specifically in the counties of Durham and Yorkshire. It is primarily known for its long, lustrous wool, which is highly prized by hand spinners and weavers.

Here are some key characteristics of the Teeswater sheep breed:

  1. Appearance: Teeswater sheep are large, sturdy animals with a distinctive appearance. They have a long, elegant neck, a deep body, and strong, well-muscled legs. Their head is relatively small, and both rams and ewes have beautiful, curled horns.
  2. Wool: The most notable feature of Teeswater sheep is their dense, curly wool, which is highly valued for its length and luster. The fleece can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and has a silky texture. It is often used for producing high-quality, long-staple yarns for knitting, weaving, and other crafts.
  3. Color: The breed is typically white or cream in color, although a small percentage of Teeswaters may have some black fibers in their wool.
  4. Adaptability: Teeswater sheep are well-adapted to the hilly and often harsh conditions of the Teesdale region. They are known for their hardiness, good foraging abilities, and ability to thrive in upland areas with limited grazing.
  5. Conservation Status: The Teeswater sheep breed is considered a rare and endangered breed. The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), an organization in the United Kingdom that aims to conserve and promote native breeds, lists Teeswater sheep as a “Category 2: Endangered” breed. Efforts are being made by breed enthusiasts and conservationists to preserve and increase the population of this breed.

Teeswater sheep are primarily kept for their wool production, but they can also be used for meat production, although this is less common. Their long wool, with its beautiful luster, is highly sought after by fiber artists and craftspeople for creating luxurious textiles.

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