Swaledale Sheep Characteristics & Best 10+ Information

Swaledale sheep is a breed of domestic sheep originating in England that is known for its fat content, meat quality, and carcass yield. The breed was created by crossing Lincolnshire curly-coated sheep and Teeswater sheep, these two breeds have influenced the production of beef cattle in North America and Great Britain. The population of Swaledale sheep in the United Kingdom is around 100,000.

This sheep is a medium-sized breed, with males weighing about 100 kg (220 lb) and females measuring about 80 kg (175 lb). long woolly hair covers the body. The fleece color is solid black to greyish brown and can vary from cream to blackish brown. they have a wide spectrum of wools that range from white through to silver grey.


How to identify Swaledale sheep?

Ewes average 10.5 months in milk and produce around 2.8 kg of milk per day. the average fecundity is 145% (1,145). The ear notches are used to identify individuals in flocks with long-term records of performance.

Swaledale Sheep BREED
Swaledale Sheep BREED

They have large and distinctive horns, which measure around 60–65 cm (24 to 25 in) in length. there are 20 to 24 horn buds. The Swaledale line is one of the oldest lines of sheep in the world. The origins of the name Swaledale are not certain but they may derive from a corruption of “Seldale”, the Old English name for Scalesdale, a village near their home farm of Seldon on Swaledale.

Behavioral characteristics

Swaledale sheep are known for their calm and friendly nature. they are also very agile.  Swaledale sheep can climb steep slopes while at the same time being very sure-footed. This is why they are used as livestock guardian animals to protect other domestic animals in the flock that may be susceptible to predators or unwanted intruders.

Swaledale Sheep PAIR
Swaledale Sheep PAIR

They are also known to be very alert. They are found mostly in the upper dales of England in a small area called Swaledale, from which they garner their name. There are some breeds of Swaledale sheep all over the world that were derived from the same foundation stock, Including Ida Valley (Australia), Idyllwild (California, US), Kiwi and Casper (New Zealand), Dalesbred (South Africa), and Spokane-Valley (Washington, US).


Swaledale sheep can be used for a variety of different purposes. They are popular for milk production and meat, as well as any other purpose that involves wool. Swaledale sheep can also be used as living décor such as in Christmas decorations, or in craftwork such as knitting and spinning wool.

They are often kept by hobby breeders. They are best known for breeding, wool, and meat. Their long wool coat, which is white or cream and can be fleeced or shorn, is often used for knitting sweaters or scarves. These sheep are very docile and easy to work with, meaning that they are the perfect breed for beginners. Swaledale sheep wool is much sought after by knitters throughout the world.

Health issue

There is no direct health risk associated with Swaledale sheep. Swaledale sheep are not prone to disease and are very hardy. If their owner is keen for the Swaledale sheep to have a lamb, this can be achieved through artificial insemination by a vet.

  • Swaledale’s have common health issues such as:
  • Horn problems,
  • Sprain,
  • Flamingos disease (umbilical hernia),
  • Swine fever,
  • Scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

As pet

Swaledale sheep are popular pets. They are also very easy to maintain. Swaledale sheep make great companion animals and can be kept as guard dogs. The Swaledale line consists of mainly the Swaledale breed, but they also produce top-quality fleeces on a lot of other breeds that cross with their genetics. Sheep in the Swaledale line do not have long fleece-like many breeds, but their wool is much softer than others, due to the high volumes of lanolin in it.

Special Considerations

Swaledale sheep are not considered to be a suitable breed for women or children. The Swaledale line is one of the oldest in the world, originating in the dales of England, However, there are also other breeds of Swaledale sheep that can be traced back to the same foundation stock. However, review the full breed profile of the Swaledale sheep in the following table.

Best 10+ information

Breed NameSwaledale Breeders.
OriginThe United Kingdom.
Breed Purposedairy, wool, and meat.
DietHigh-quality grasses, wild herbs and leaves, hay, and some grain.
Mating SystemPolygamous/Monogamous.
Breed Colors(s)Solid black to greyish brown fleece colors and cream to blackish brown; there is a wide spectrum of wools that range from white through to silver grey.
Breed TemperamentCalm and friendly, agile, alert, and very sure-footed.
Climate ToleranceAdaptable.
Lifespan12–13 years.

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