Alpines Steinschaf sheep – The Rare Breed

Alpines Steinschaf Sheep is the old sheep breed inhabited in the Eastern Alps of Austria and southern Germany, mainly used for meat, wool and vegetation management. 

The weight of the sheep is around 40 to 60 kg.

The Alpines Steinschaf name suggests about the origins, Alps (Austria) and Germany.

Alpines Steinschaf Characteristics

Alpines Steinschaf is a medium-size breed. They are fine-boned mountain breed.

They come in all colours. The face and lower legs are free from wool. The face and ears are black. 

The tail is long and without wool. Ears stick out and hang down slightly.

As it stays in the mountains, they do have long, thin legs. Most durable hooves.

Rams are horned, but ewes sometimes polled.

The Mature Rams weigh around 55 kg to 80 kg (120 lbs to 176 lbs), and the ewes weigh about 40 kg to 60 kg (88 lbs to 132 lbs).

The lambing percentage is 170 to 200 %

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 which results in a more twinning percentage.

The Alpines Steinschaf breed is Triple purpose for meat, wool and vegetation management.

The wool widely used in all textile industries.

They raised in the mountains, where the availability pasture is so low.

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Alpines Steinschaf

Using this characteristic they used for vegetation management, where they do not care about what eat, clear the land, what they see is only pasture. 

Alpines Steinschaf Management

During Summer, the sheep stay on high-altitude pastures and graze on the grasslands at the foothills of Alps.

But during winter, they require housing, winters last for 4 to 6 months.

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Advantages of Alpines Steinschaf

The breed comes with a lot of good characteristics that are favourable for the breeders.

  • They are robust and well adapted to extreme climates.
  • Safe and rough in the high-mountains
  • Best maternal characteristics
  • live long
  • Early maturity
  • High fertility

Alpines Steinschaf History

The Steinschaf group consists of four breeds mainly – Alpines Steinschaf, Tiroler Steinschaf, Krainer Steinschaf, and the Montafoner Steinschaf.

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These are believed to be the oldest sheep breeds of Alps.

The distribution of Alpines Steinschaf is in Germany and Austria mainly in the eastern Alps. 

In Austria, mostly found in Salzburg, but also Carinthia, North, and East Tirol and Vorarlberg.

In Germany, it was common in the Bavarian districts of Berchtesgaden and Traunstein and the south-east part of Rosenheim.

Things to know

Around 1985 the Alpines Steinschaf reduced to minimal flocks, which raised a concern.

So a breeding program was established both in Austria and Germany to increase the number of Alpines Steinschaf sheep.

Many breeding organizations and breeders came forward for the project. The motto was to improve the rare breeds for the future.

In 2004 the breeders from Germany and Austria brought up a new program to market the high-quality products made of Alpines Steinschaf wool. 

The project took off in no time, since then the population is increasing annually.

But still, in 2014, it was listed as “extremely endangered” on the red list of endangered animals breeds of the GEH.

A population census showed around 600 in Austria in 2012 and 800 in Germany in 2013.

Also Read  Vegetation management by Bentheimer Landschaf Sheep

Brief characteristics of Alpines Steinschaf Sheep

Breed NameAlpines Steinschaf Sheep
Other Name
Country/Place of OriginGermany and Austria
Breed PurposeMeat  and wool
Breed SizeMedium
Weight
Ram(Male)    
55 to 80 kg (120 to 176 lbs)
Ewe(Female)40 to 60 kg (88 to 132 lbs)
Kiddingsingle and twins
Good for Stall Fedopen grazing 
Climate ToleranceNative Climates
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