Sheep have been raised by people for thousands of years. They provide wool, meat, milk for cheese. We have several breeds at Phoenix Ranch so that people can experience various aspects of this human-animal relationship. We have learned a lot in the process and enjoy sharing this information with others.
The folk tale about the origin of this breed was that God told Jacob to raise "spotted sheep." Jacobs are a Heritage breed and considered fairly rare. They are brown or gray and white with 2-6 horns. Their wool is used for spinning and felting provide a good quality meat. We are fortunate to have as a neighbor Robin Lynde who manages the registry for Jacobs sheep at Meridian Jacobs. We found the Jacobs to be a calm, confident breed, almost like goats in their behavior. Some are bossy, some are more gentle.
East Friesians originated in Germany. They are a white, hornless (polled) breed of sheep known for their high milk production, which is used in cheeses. They also produce heavy fleeces We acquired ours as a donation from Lynn Martin of Sonoma County, where she is an expert in sheep milk production and breeding. Ours are calm and people friendly.
Katahdins are a hair sheep, which means that they shed and don't need to be shorn like wool sheep. They are easy keepers on pasture and good producers of mild flavored, tender meat. Beatrice, the ranch mascot is a Katahdin-Dorper cross. We have found the Katahdins to be very friendly and VERY food-motivated.
Wensleydales are a rare breed that hail from the United Kingdom. Their wool is prized by spinners and has a curl that makes them look like big poodles. Like other breeds from the UK, we find them to be less people-friendly and not wanting to be handled as much as the others but still come easily when called for food.