Planet Suffolk: Bringing together the Suffolks of the world

Suffolk Sheep

Order of contents on this page: (Click on the links below)

The Suffolk

The South Suffolk

The White Suffolk

The Suffolk

The Suffolk is a breed of English polled (hornless), black faced sheep that has been in existence since at least the late eighteenth century. The first record of the use of the name Suffolk appeared in 1797 when Arthur Young, in his General view of Agriculture in the County of Suffolk, stated that:
 
"These ought to be called the Suffolk breed, the mutton has superior texture, flavour, quantity and colour of gravy"
 
Originally produced by crossing Southdown rams with Norfolk Horned ewes, the Suffolk was recognised as a pure breed in 1810 & was first exhibited at the Suffolk Show in 1859.  In 1886 the English Suffolk Society was formed, with the first flock book being produced in the following year.
The breed’s popularity soon spread across the British Isles.
 
The Suffolk is a short fleeced breed, primarily bred for its meat.  The average weight of a ram is between 250 & 350 lb, whilst a ewe typically weighs between 180 & 250 lb. The fleece is usually in the range of 2 to 3.5 inches in length. Suffolks are renowned as good breeders & are widely regarded as the leading terminal sire on a variety of breeds of ewes to produce top quality lamb.

Suffolks were first exported to the USA & Australia in the 1880s & to New Zealand in 1913. Today they are found throughout the world.

The Suffolk Sheep Society is now based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

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The South Suffolk

In 1929, New Zealand breeder George Gould developed the breed known as the South Suffolk, by further crossing between the Suffolk & the Southdown. The main objective of this was to combine the lean carcase of the Suffolk with the finely-textured meat of the Southdown. It was recognised as a breed in 1940 & was first exported to Australia in 1946. It is now found throughout Australia. The South Suffolk is generally slightly smaller than the Suffolk, with rams weighing between 200 & 300 lb & ewes between 150 & 220 lb. The Australian South Suffolk Breeders Society was established in 1958, but amalgamated with the Australian Society of Breeders of British Sheep in 1972.

 

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The White Suffolk

The White Suffolk is a breed developed in Australia in the 1970s with experimentation conducted by Professor E. Roberts of the University of New South Wales. The aim of this experimentation was to produce a breed with the stature & characteristics of the Suffolk, but with a white head, legs & body. The reason for this was to reduce the risk of contamination of the wool by dark fibres. This was achieved by crossing the Suffolk with white breeds; mainly the Poll Dorset. The Australian White Suffolk Association was established in 1985.

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