The sheep breeds are classified on different bases, the Indian breeds may be best classified on the basis of their degree of suitability for mutton or wool production as follows. Most of the sheep breeds are named after their place of origin. Majorly there are classified into 4 categories :
- Apparel Wool Breeds
- Superior Carpet Wool Breeds
- Coarse Carpet Wool Breeds
- Hairy Meat Breeds
1. Apparel Wool Breeds
The apparel wool breeds are Hissardale, Nilgiri, Kashmir Merino, and Avivastra. These are crossbreds of native and exotic fine wool/dual/mutton breeds. Hie numbers and distribution of Hissardale and Nilgiri are very limited. Kashmir Merino, though large in number, has no definite level of exotic fine wool inheritance and has involved almost all the native breeds of Jammu & Kashmir.
1. Hissardale: Hissardale was evolved at the Government Livestock Farm, Hisar, through crossbreeding Australian Merino rams with Bikaneri (Magra) ewes and stabilizing the exotic inheritance at about 75 percent
There is a small flock of this breed at the Government Livestock Farm, Hisar. The rams of this breed were earlier distributed in the hilly regions of Kulu, Kangra, etc.
Small animals with short legs, giving a low-set appearance. Leat-like, medium-sized ears. Most animals are polled. Color is predominantly white, although some brown or black patches can be observed.
2. Nilgiri: Nilgiri breed was evolved during the 19th century. It originated from a crossbred base and contains an unknown level of inheritance of Coimbatore, the local hairy breed, Tasmanian Merino, Cheviot, and South Down.
The animals are medium-sized and white, exceptionally with brown patches on the face and body. The face line is convex, giving a typical Roman nose. Hie ears are broad, flat, and drooping.
Males have horn buds and scurs; females are polled. The tail is medium and thin. The lambing on the basis of ewes available is about 64.8 percent and the overall mortality of about 9.23 percent.
3. Kashmir Merino: This breed originated from crosses of different Merino types with predominantly migratory native sheep breeds such as Gaddi, Bhakarwal, and Poonchi.
The level of inheritance varies from very low to almost 100 percent Merino, though a level from 50 to 75 percent predominates. The animals are highly variable because of the involvement of a number of native breeds.
2. Superior Carpet Wool Breeds
Chokla, Nali, Marwari, Magra, Jaisalmeri, Pugal, Patanwadi, Tibetan, Bonpala, Gaddi, Rampur Bushair, Poonchi, Kamah, Gurez, and Changthangi are superior carpet wool breeds.
1. Pugal: The Pugal area of Bikaner district is its home track. It is distributed over Bikaner and Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan.
The animals are fairly well-built Face black with small light brown stripes on either side above the eyes; the lower jaw typically light brown.
The black color may extend to the neck. Ears are short and tubular. Both sexes are polled. The tail is short to medium and thin. The fleece is white. The fleece is of medium carpet quality not very dense.
2. Patanwadi : Patanwadi is also called desi, Kutchi, Vadhiyari, and Charotari. Three distinct strains have been described:
(i) Non-migratory, red-faced type with small bodies and yielding relatively finer fleeces. These are typical Patanwadi and are located in north-eastern Saurashtra.
(ii) The migratory type, with large bodies and long legs, typical Roman nose, and long tubular ears, they yield coarse fleeces and are found in western and north-eastern Gujarat
(iii) The meat type, with big bodies, low stature, and coarse fleeces, observed in south-eastern areas around Palitana.
The animals, in general, arc medium to large with relatively long legs. They have a typical Roman nose with a brown face which may be tan in a few cases. Ears are medium to large, tubular with a hairy tuft. The tail is thin and short. Both sexes are polled.
Lambing percentage on the basis of ewes bred is about 78.5 and on the basis of available about 604. The annual mortality average is only 21 percent. The fleece is white. The fleece is of medium carpet quality not very dense.
3. Tibetan: The Tibetan-breed is found in northern Sikkim and Kamcng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
The animals are medium-sized, mostly white with black or brown face; brown and white spots are also found on the body.
Both the sexes are horned. The nose line is convex, giving a typical Roman nose. The ears are small, broad, and drooping. The belly, legs, and faces arc devoid of wool.
4. Bonpala: This breed is found in southern Sikkim.
The animals are tall, leggy, and well built.
The fleece color ranges from completely white to completely black with a number of intermediary tones. Ears are small and tubular. Both sexes are horned. The tail is thin and short. The belly and legs are devoid of wool.
5. Gaddi: Gaddi sheep are distributed in Kistwar and Bhadarwah tehsils in Jammu province of Jammu & Kashmir, Ramnagar, Udampur, and Kulu and Kangra valleys of Himachal Pradesh; and Dehradun. Naini Tal, Tchri-Garhwal and Chamoli districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The animals are medium-sized, usually white, although tan, brown and black, and mixtures are also seen. Males are horned; 10 to 15 percent of females are also horned. The tail is small and thin.
The lambing percentage on the basis of ewes available is about 58.9 under farm conditions. The mortality varies from 10.7 percent in adults to 27.6 percent in lambs from 3 to 6 months of age.
6. Rampur Bushair: Rampur Bushair breed is distributed in Shimla, Kinnaur, Nahan, Bilaspur, Solan, and Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh, and Dehradun, Rishikesh, Chakrota and Naini Tal districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The animals are medium-sized. The fleece is predominantly white; brown, black, and tan are also seen on the fleece in varying proportions. The ears are long and drooping. The face line is convex, giving a typical Roman nose. The males are homed: most females are polled.
The legs, belly, and face are devoid of wool. Under farm conditions, the lambing varies from 52.9 to 88.3 percent and mortality from 13*9 to 19.86 percent, on an average.
7. Poonchi: The Poonchi breed is found in Poonchand parts of Rajouri districts of Jammu province. The animals are similar to Gaddi but are smaller. They are predominantly white, including the face, and are also seen with brown to light black spots. The ears are of medium length. The tail is short and thin. The legs are also short, giving a low-set conformation.
8. Karnah: This breed is distributed in Kamah, a mountainous tehsil in northern Kashmir. The animals are large. The rams have large curved horns and a prominent nose line. The fleece is generally white.
9. Gurez: This breed is distributed in the Gurez area of northern Kashmir. Gurez sheep are the largest of the sheep breed in Jammu & Kashmir. Generally, they are white although some are brown or black or have brown or black spots.
The small proportion of the animals have small, pointed horns. The tail is thin and short. The ears are long, thin, and pointed. The annual greasy fleece weight varies from 0.5 to 1 kg per animal.
10. Changthangi: This breed is found in the Changthang region of Ladakh. The animals are strongly built, large framed with good fleece cover. The fleece has an extraordinary long staple. The mortality varies from 20 to 25 percent in lambs to 10 to 20 percent in adults.
11. Chokla: Chokla breed is found in Churu, Sikar, Bikaner, Jaipur, and Nagaur districts of Rajasthan. Light to medium-sized animals.
The face generally devoid of wool, reddish-brown and the color may extend up to the middle of the neck; the skin is pink.
The ears are small to medium in length and tubular. Both sexes are polled. The tail is thin and of medium length. The coat is dense and relatively fine, covering the entire body including the belly and the greater part of the legs.
12. Nali: The breed is from ganganagar, churu and Jhunjhunu districts of Rajasthan, Southern Hisar and Rohtak . Medium-sized animal, Face color is light brown, skin color is pink, both sexes are polled.
Ears are large and leafy. The tail is short to medium and thin. Fleece is white, coarse, dense, and long-stapled. Forehead, belly, and legs are covered with wool.
13. Marwari: The Marwari breed is from Jodhpur, Jalore, Nagaur, Pali, Udaipur districts of Rajasthan, Jeoria region of Gujarat.
Medium-sized animals, Blackface, the color extending to the lower part of the neck. Ears extremely small and tubular. Both sexes are polled. The tail is short to medium and thin. Fleece is white and not very dense.
14. Magra: Magra breed is from Bikaner, Nagaur, Jaisalmer, and Churu districts of Rajasthan.
Medium to large animals. Whiteface with light brown patches around the eyes, characteristic of this breed.
The skin color is pink. Ears are small to medium and tubular. Both sexes are polled. The tail is medium in length and thin. Fleece is of the medium in carper quality extremely white and lustrous, not very dense.
15. Jaisalmeri: The breed is from Jaisalmer. Tall, well-built animals, Black or dark brown dace, the color extending up to the neck.
Typical Roman nose. Long drooping ears, generally with a cartilaginous appendage. Both sexes are polled. The tail is medium to long. The fleece is white, is of medium carpet quality, and not very dense.
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3. Coarse Carpet Wool Breeds
Malpura, Sonadi, Muzaffarnagari, Jalauni, Deccani, Bellary, Coimbatore, Chhotanagpuri, Balangiri, Ganjam, Bhakharwal and Shahabadi are classified as coarse carpet wool breeds.
1. Balangiri: This is spread over north-western districts of Orissa, Balangir, Sambalpur, and Sundargarh. They are medium-sized, white, or light brown of mixed colors. A few animals are black. The ears are small and stumpy. Males are homed and the females are polled.
Their tail is of medium length and thin. The legs and belly are devoid of wool. The reproduction rate in terms of lambing is about 8.3 percent in farmers’ flocks. The mortality is around 8.0 percent in young ones and 1.6 percent in adults.
2. Ganjam: Ganjam sheep are found in Korbut, Phulbani, and parts of Puri districts of Orissa.
The animals are medium-sized with coat color ranging from brown to dark tan. Some animals have white spots on the face and body. The ears are of medium size and drooping. The nose line is slightly convex. The tail is of medium length and thin.
While the males are homed, the females are polled. The fleece is hairy and short, and not shorn. An annual lambing percentage of 83.6 and a mortality percentage of 10.35 have been recorded in farmers’ flocks.
3. Bhakarwal: The name of the breed is derived from the nomadic tribe which rears these sheep.
Bhakarwal has no distinct home tract and the animals are entirely migratory. They are of medium size and have a typical Roman nose.
They are generally white, although colored fleece is occasionally observed. All animals are spotted, fawn or grey. The rams are homed and the ewes are polled. The ears are long and drooping, and the tail is small and thin.
4. Shahabadi: Shahabadi is found in Shahabad, Patna and Gaya districts of Bihar state.
The animals are of medium size and leggy. Their fleece is mostly grey and sometimes with black spots.
The ears are of medium size and drooping. The tail is extremely long and thin. Both sexes are polled. Their legs and belly are devoid of wool.
5. Malpura: Malpura breed is from Jaipur, Tonk, Sawaimadhopur, Ajmer, Bhilwara, and Bundi districts of Rajasthan. Fairly well-built animals, with long legs. Face light brown. Ears are short and tubular, with a small cartilaginous appendage on the upper side. Both sexes are polled.
The tail is medium to long and thin. White fleece, extremely coarse and hairy. Belly and legs are devoid of wool.
6. Sonadi: Sonadi breed is from Udaipur , Dungarpur and Chittorgarh. Fairly well-built, somewhat smaller than Malpura, with long legs. Light brown face, with color extending to the middle of the neck. Ears are large, flat and drooping.
Ears generally have a cartilaginous appendage. The tail is long and thin. Both sexes are polled. The udder is fairly well developed. White fleece, extremely coarse and hairy. Belly and legs are devoid of wool.
7. Muzaffarnagari: Muzaffarnagari breed is from Mazzaffarnagar, Bulandshahar, Saharanpur, Meerut, Bijnor, Dehra Dun districts of Uttar Pradesh and parts of Delhi and Haryana.
Medium to large animals. Face line slightly convex. Face and body white with occasional patches of brown or black. Ears occasionally black. Both sexes are polled. Males occasionally show rudimentary horns.
The tail is extremely long and reaches fetlock. Fleece is white, coarse, and open. Belly and legs are devoid of wool.
8. Jalauni: Jalauni breed is from Jalaun, Jhansi and Lalitpur districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Medium-sized animals, with straight nose line. Both sexes are polled. Ears are large, flat and drooping.
The tail is thin and medium in length. Fleece is coarse, short-stapled, and open generally white. Belly and legs are devoid of wool.
9. Deccani: Deccani breed is from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. Medium-sized, color is black with white marking, ears are medium in length, flat and drooping, the tail is short and thin, fleece is coarse, hairy and open.
10. Bellary: Bellary breed is from the Bellary district of Karnataka. Medium-sized animals; body-color ranging from white through various combinations of white and black. 1/3 of the males are horned, females are polled.
Ears are medium long, flat, and drooping. The tail is short and thin. Fleece is extremely coarse, hairy, and open; belly and legs are devoid of wool.
11. Coimbatore: The breed is from Coimbatore, Madurai districts of Tamil Nadu. Medium-sized animals, white with black or brown spots. Ears are medium-sized and directed outward and backward. The tail is small and thin, 30% of the males are polled. Fleece is white, coarse, hairy, and open.
4. Hairy Meat Breeds
The sheep are maintained primarily for meat almost in the whole of the southern Peninsular region. Almost half of their population do not produce wool. The wool produced here is very coarse, hairy, and colored. This is of below 36 quality and is suitable only for extremely rough carpets, barrack blankets, and kamblies(kind of winter blankets). Hairy meat breeds include Nellore, Hassan, Mecheri, Kilakarsal, Vembur, Ramand White, Madras Red, Tiruchy Black, and Kenguri.
1. Nellore: Nellore is from Nellore, Prakasham, and Ongole districts of Andhra Pradesh. Relatively tall animals with little hair except at brisket, withers, and breech. The rams are horned; the ewes are almost always polled.
The ears are long and drooping. The tail is short and thin. 86% of the animals carry wattles.
2. Hassan: The breed is from the Hassan district of Karnataka. Small animals, white body with light brown or black spots. Ears are medium-long and drooping. 39% of males are horned, females are polled. Fleece is white, extremely coarse, and open; legs and belly are generally devoid of wool.
3. Mandya: Breed is from Mandya district of Karnataka. Relatively small animals. Color is white, but in some cases face is light brown and this color may extend to the neck.
Compact body with a typically reversed U-shape confirmation from the rear.
Ears are long, leafy, and drooping. The tail is short and thin. Large animals carry wattles. Slightly Roman nose. Both sexes are polled. The coat is extremely coarse and hairy.
4. Mecheri: Mecheri breed is from Salem and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu. Medium-sized animals.
Light brown in color. Ears are medium-sized. Both sexes are polled. The tail is short and thin. The body is covered with very short hairs that are not shorn.
5. Kilakarsal: Kilakarsal is from Ramnathpuram, Madurai, Thanjavur and Ramnad districs of Tamil Nadu. Coat is dark tan, with black spots on head, belly and legs. Ears are medium sized. Tail is small and thin. Males have thick twisted horns. Most animals have wattle.
6. Vembur: Vembur breed is from Vembur, Melakharandhai, Nagalpuram, Achangulam villages of Tamil Nadu.
Tall animals, color is white, with irregular red and fawn patches all over the body. Ears are medium-sized and drooping. The tail is thin and short. Males are horned; ewes are polled. The body is covered with short hairs that are not shorn.
7. Ramnad: Ramnad is from the Ramnad district of Tamil Nadu. MEdium-sized animals, predominately white some animals have fawn or black markings over the body. The ears are medium-sized and directed outward and downward. Males have twisted horns. Females are polled. The tail is short and thin.
8. Madras Red: Breed is from Chingalpet and Madras districts of Tamil Nadu. Body-color is predominately brown, the intensity varying from light tan to dark brown.
Some animals have white markings on the forehead, inside the thighs and over the lower abdomen, Ears are medium, long and drooping.
The tail is short and thin. Rams have strongly corrugated and twisted horns; the ewes are polled. The body is covered with short hairs that are not shorn.
9. Tiruchy Black: The breed is from Tiruchy, Arcot, Salem and Dharmapuri districts of Tamil Nadu.
Small animals. The body is completely black. Males are horned; ewes are polled. Ears are short and directed downward and forward. The tail is short and thin. The fleece is extremely coarse, hairy, and open.
10. Kenguri: Kenguri is from the Raichur district of Karnataka. The breed is Medium-sized, body color is mostly dark brown, but colors ranging from white to black with spots of different shades are also to be observed. Males are horned. females are generally polled.