The origins of the Corriedale
sheep lie in early experiments in interbreeding long
wool breeds with Merinos.
The manager of North Otago’s Corriedale Station, James Little, started
attempting in 1868 to institute a fixed inbred
half-bred which is a half-bred that engenders true
to type when he matched more than six hundred Romney
rams with Merino ewes.
In 1874, William Soltau Davidson at the Levels
Station attempted a similar breeding program
utilizing Lincoln rams.
The inbred half-bred by the 1890s was since widely
acknowledged as the Corriedale, and this name was formally sanctioned by
the Sheep Breeders’ Association in New Zealand in
From the beginning, the Corriedale was raised for
both meat and wool. Its fleece is long and
average-to-fine with a prominent crimp, and
established a willing market in the worsted trade.
The Corriedale is more fertile as compared with the Merino,
and its young grow to adulthood early to develop a
well-muscled meat stock.
The Corriedale sheep was farmed for the gentle hills and
plains of the drier eastern regions of both the South and
The breed is also bred in South and North America,
Eastern Europe, and Australia. Presently, it
competes with the Merino as the most popular breed
of sheep in the world.
In New Zealand, there are
over 2 million Corriedales, and over a hundred million globally.The Colonial Half-bred or Half-bred was bred in an
effort to retain the quality of wool of the Merino,
foraging hardiness and ability, while enhancing its
production of lamb and improving its conformation of
carcass for the meat trade.
Normally, a Merino is interbred with an English Leicester or
Romney to come up with a first-cross half-bred ram, which is
subsequently bred with a half-bred flock of ewe.
The Half-bred can manage under more difficult conditions
than can the Corriedale, and is based in the high country
and foothills of the South Island. The national flock is
approximately more than a million.
The Romney y the early 1900s in New Zealand was
clearly unlike from the Romney from Kent from whence
it was bred, even though the title New Zealand
Romney was not officially adopted till 1956.
When the British breeders changed their stress to
the production of meat the sheep got larger, but the
quality of wool declined. Wool stayed vitally
crucial for the farmers of New Zealand, so local
breeders chose their sheep for both meat and wool
The Romney is fitted to high precipitation and heavy
lands, and has the highest resistance to foot rot of
any sheep breed in the country.
It produces a heavy wool used in furnishings, knitting
yarns, and carpets. Through the 20th century the Romney was
New Zealand’s the single most favorite breed. It presently
makes up approximately sixty percent of the country’s total
flock of more than twenty five million sheep.