Origin and Distribution
The Blacknose sheep is an unpretentious indigenous breed, which is well-adapted to the harsh conditions of the mountains which it inhabits, in the German-speaking part of the Canton of Valais in Switzerland. There are indications that this breed has existed since the 15th century. Today there are 17,500 herd book animals.
The ewes can lamb twice a year after the age of two.
Typical Breed Characteristics
The Blacknose Sheep owe their name to their beautiful black Roman noses. The black colouring extends up the face to the eyes and surrounds them. The ears are totally black and there are black markings on the fronts of the knees and on the hocks. The lower legs are short black booted. The ewes have a black patch directly below their tails. Typically both rams and ewes of the Blacknose Sheep have spiral-shaped horns; the rams’ are massive and curved, the ewes’ horns tend to be straighter. An important feature is the wool, which should be of similar length and thickness all over the animal’s body, head and legs.
The Valais Blacknose Sheep is a mountain sheep breed which has equal wool distribution all over its body. The impressive horns and distinct markings give it its unique appearance. The Valais Blacknose Sheep has a harmonious, robust and large-framed body.
1. Colour Features
Nose to the centre of the head is black
Black eye rims, both sides connected to the Nose
Black ears to the head
Ankles black with black spots on front and back of the knees
Ewes have black spot under their tail but it must not be too large and must be interrupted by the white tail.
The rams have no tail spots.
Head and neck
Short, dressed head
Wide mouth, broad forehead and Roman nose
Short, well-muscled neck
Rams pronounced head shape
Spiral forming in the horizontal direction of the back equal gap
Occasional black stripes are tolerated
Width chest, shoulder
Wide and deep chest
Shoulder close fitting
Good spring of ribs
Long straight and well developed loin
Height within two years
Rams 75-83 cm
Weight within two years
Ewes 70- 90kg
Rams 80 -125kg
Short well placed
Straight between the joints with plenty of bone
Wide-legged position of the front legs
Average ankle angulations
Solid bone structure
Fineness 5-4 (Swiss grading)
Staple length 10cm with a good crimp
Sheep should be evenly covered with a coat of long curly wool, of good quality and free from kemp or hair.