Askanian sheep – Ukraine’s finest wool

Askanian sheep is a Ukraine breed, famous for its fine quality wool. 

They are also known Askaniysky, Askanian Fine Fleece sheep. 

The breed is developed from 1925 through 1934 by crossing American Rambouillet with Merinos.

A combination of Best wool and more meat makes Askanian a reliable, adaptable breed in Ukraine. Today the breed is raised mainly for its fine quality wool.

Askanian sheep characteristics

Askanian sheep are large, and a fair amount of meat is produced known for high-productivity.

The mature weight of rams is around 110 kg to 120 kg, and ewes weight is about 60 kg to 65 kg.

Rams are horned, but ewes or either polled or horned.

It can reach a height of 70 cm to the withers.

The nine-month-old lambs can reach up to 42 kg of weight, and the carcass weight is 19kg.

The wool is white in color and uniform.

Even the face is white. Askanian sheep’s face is free of wool.

Askanian sheep
Askanian sheep

The wool quality is of 22 to 24 m in ewes and 24 to 26 m in rams. The staple length is 7.5 cm to 9.0 cm in ewes and 8 cm to 10 cm in rams.

The breed which holds the world record in fleece weight is Askanian. On average, ewes have 6.5 kg to 8 kg and rams around 16 kg to 19 kg.

The ewes are good mothers, and the litter size is 125 to 130 lambs per hundred ewes.

Things to know

The maximal fleece weight of 31.7 kg sheared from a ram at the Krasny Chaban breeding center in the Kherson region is the absolute world record for all breeds.

Ram No. 77 had a live weight of 183 kg – a world record for fine wool sheep.

Total breed numbers declined slightly between 1964 and 1969, but purebreds increased. Since then, they have remained relatively stable. In 1980, 1782820 (90% purebreds), including 37417 breeding rams, 10649 other rams, and 1193157 ewes and yearlings.

They are primarily seen in the southern regions of Ukraine (Nikolayev, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions).

Brief characteristics of Askanian Sheep

Breed NameAskanian Sheep
Other NameAskaniysky, Askanian Fine Fleece sheep
Country/Place of OriginUkraine
Breed Purpose wool
Breed SizeLarge
110 kg (240 lb)
Ewe(Female)65 kg (143 lb)
Kiddingsingle or twins
Good for Stall Fedopen grazing /intensive
Climate ToleranceNative Climates


Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.

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