Blackhead Persian Sheep: Best 10+ Information

The Blackhead Persian sheep is a breed of domestic sheep which was originated from South Africa. It belongs to the fat-tailed category of sheep. The Blackhead Persian Sheep is a medium-sized, robust animal. They have blackheads, black legs, and white wool from the neck to the tail. All lambs have a pure white face and underparts. Blackhead Persian is a breed of sheep that originated in South Africa.

This breed belongs to more than one breed classification, primarily meat, fat-tailed, and wool production. This breed was created by crossing the British breeds, Hampshire and Dorset Horn. Essentially the Blackhead Persian is a dual-purpose sheep with good milk production qualities for a meat breed. However, read some more information about this sheep breed below.


How to identify blackhead Persian sheep?

They have blackheads, black legs, and white wool from the neck to the tail. All lambs have a pure white face and underparts. The ewes are polled and the rams are horned.

Blackhead Persian sheep
Blackhead Persian sheep

Blackhead Persian Sheep have an unusual characteristic, they appear to have yellowish eyes with a pink tint but this is not so. They get their name from the distinctive markings on their faces which is due to their unique copper gene.

Country/Place of Origin

The Blackhead Persian sheep originated in South Africa. There were estimated to be 2 million Blackhead Persian sheep in South Africa in the 1950s. These animals have also been introduced to Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.

The Blackhead Persian sheep are commonly used for both meat and wool. Some of the largest and oldest herds of Blackhead Persian sheep can be found in Ethiopia, where it has been in existence for more than 4,000 years.

Behavioral characteristics

They are very hardy, adaptable, and have great mothering ability. They are docile, extremely hardy, and an easy keeper. They are a medium-sized breed that is moderately long-lived with an average life expectancy of about 5 years for mature females.

Herd of Blackhead Persian sheep
Herd of Blackhead Persian sheep

Blackhead Persian Sheep are white with blackheads and grey legs throughout their lives. Some have a few black patches on the head or body or a few grey spots on the tailor’s legs as lambs. The blackhead Persian Sheep is one of the rarest sheep in the world.


• The lambs make good meat and fat sheep with high-quality meat from the lamb being the more desirable cut.

• They are raised for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in some Middle Eastern countries, especially Iran, Turkey, and Egypt, where the most expensive restaurants serve lamb from the Blackhead Persian sheep.

• They are also raised for their wool and skin.

• They can be used for general farm work including pulling small carts.

• In Iran, where many of these sheep are still raised in large numbers, they are considered to be a “good” breed of sheep. As such, they may be sold at high prices compared to other breeds that are not considered “good”.

• Blackhead Persian sheep have matured horns, which can be used for the production of high-quality horns for medicinal and religious purposes in some parts of the world.

The breed is also known for its high fertility and abundance.

Best information

Special consideration should be taken for the breed when breeding. It is recommended that the males of the breed be selected from only the most vigorous ewes of this breed. Ewes should preferably be bred undercover, due to their vulnerability to attacks by predators, especially in lambing season.

The lambs grow very fast and must not be weaned early. They are generally hardy and adaptable, though they must be kept outside and away from predators as they are slow runners and cannot climb well to avoid danger. However, review the full breed profile of the Blackhead Persian sheep in the following table.

Breed NameBlackhead Persian
Other NameSwartkoppersie
OriginSouth Africa
SizeMedium-sized (75-85cm)
WeightEwes:42-58kg, Rams:70-90kg
Breed PurposeDual purpose. Meat & skin
TemperamentDocile, calm, and easy to handle
ColorWhite & black
As PetsYes, domestic sheep
LifespanShort, 8-10yrs
Climate ToleranceCold to warm climate

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