Polwarth Sheep: Best 10+ Information

Polwarth sheep is a breed of domestic sheep that was developed in Victoria (Australia) in 1880. Polwarth sheep were originally bred to produce high-quality wool but are now raised for their meat. Polwarth sheep produce a fleece that is more durable than Merino sheep and has more resistance to flystrike.

They are smaller than Merinos and have a more alert and sturdy look. Polwarth sheep are also characterized by their white face, legs, and belly, as well as a black stripe down the back that resembles a saddle. Some of the most common breeds of Polwarth are Cormo, Delaine, Drysdale, Northwood, Oxford, Timor-Strathbogie, Venzana, and Volhard.

Polwarth wool is not as soft as Merino wool due to its tighter crimp but Polwarth sheep are now kept for meat and not just for their wool. Polwarth sheep are members of the Dorset Horn breed, which also includes black-faced Dorset and Corriedale sheep. The color of Polwarth wool is variable, although it tends to be lighter in color than that of merino sheep; variations include white, brown, fawn, grey, and black.


How to identify Polwarth sheep?

Polwarth sheep have seen rapid growth during the last 20 years even though they are not as easy to produce on a large scale as merinos. They have distinctive face markings with white faces, black legs, black lower bellies, and saddlebacks. Their body is very muscular and also has black stripes down from their shoulders to their hindquarters.

Polwarth Sheep With Kids
Polwarth Sheep With Kids

Behavioral characteristics:

Polwarth sheep are intelligent, active, and alert. They have a very playful nature and will enjoy having fun with other livestock. Polwarth sheep are a very hardy breed that thrives in many different environments.

They need complete ownership of their pasture, as well as access to water at all times. If a pasture does not have access to water, the sheep will drink from puddles or drain holes in the ground.

They also need full use of their paddock and extensive scratch and/or wallow areas. The pulpit is where they must be able to graze and groom themselves before being turned out into their range area. They tend to be intolerant of heat and they do not tolerate wet conditions very well at all.


A Polwarth’s diet should be rich in roughage with a good mixture of grass hay and grazing. A Polwarth diet should also be supplemented with fresh green feed, as well as a small amount of pellet feed in the wintertime to supplement their diets when available.


Polwarth sheep are a very popular breed used for meat production and the fleece tends to be better wool than merino sheep. They are also an excellent breed for producers who want to keep their flock small and have a high level of performance.

Polwarth Sheep for wool
Polwarth Sheep for wool

Their wool is often used for spinning and sewing, as well as for making felt, felt-lined shoes, and handbags. They are also popular in UK’s fashion industry.

Special Considerations:

Polwarth sheep have very little time to get up once they lie down. They need a large area to roam in and must have access to feed as well as water. They tend to be lonely animals so they would need other animals like sheep, goats, or horses to keep them company.

Polwarth wool is naturally soft, and strong, and is easy to dye with natural dyes. The wool tends not to kink or felt easily and is also very easy to spin and handle. However, review the full breed profile of the Polwarth sheep in the following table.

Best 10+ information:

Breed NamePolwarth sheep
Other NameNone
Breed SizeMedium
Breed PurposeMeat, wool
Country of OriginAustralia
Breed TemperamentAlert, lively, friendly, intelligent
ColourBlack with a white face,
Climate ToleranceHot, cold
WeightRams weight 66 to 80 kg, and mature ewes weight 50-60 kg
As PetsYes, easy to maintain
LifespanAvg 15 yrs

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