A Jacob Sheep

Jacob Sheep

See our flock at the Children’s Zoo Farm!

What do I look like?

I have a black and white spotted wool coat. Some of my black spots are specific to what kind of breed I am. For example, the spots that are around my muzzle, eyes, shoulders, feet, and knees indicate that I am a Jacob’s Sheep. As an adult I can have two to six horns, but the most common is four. If I am a male, my horns might have more interesting shapes, like spirals.

What do I eat?

I am a herbivore who likes to graze. I prefer grass, but I do enjoy a diverse diet that includes grains and other plants. I am a selective eater, using my lips and tongue to pick specific leaves and parts of plants. I have a multi-chambered stomach, allowing me to digest plant products that contain high levels of cellulose. One of my chambers stores the quickly ingested food, and then brings it back up to chew again, before I can digest it.

Where do I live?

My black and white coloring may have originated from Moorish sheep found in Spain or Africa and my four horned characteristics may have originated in Norse sheep from Scandinavia, but I am a descendant from an ancient Old World breed of sheep.

How big is my family?

I live in big groups, called a flock. We will communicate through a range of vocalizations at a variety of pitches and patterns. This is often referred to as bleating. Bleating is very important because it warns the rest of the flock when there is danger. It also plays an important role in mother and lamb bonding. Our lambs will recognize their mother by the call alone.

Did You Know?

They are sometimes referred to as piebald sheep because of the patterns of white spots on their wool.

Jacob sheep have 300 degrees of field vision – they do not have to turn their head to see behind them. They can easily spot predators. They also have excellent hearing.

Jacob sheep is a heritage breed, which means that they are a historical breed that retain essential attributes for survival and self sufficiency.

Jacob sheep are the oldest breed of sheep in existence today.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Bovidae

Genus: Ovis

Species: Aries