What are English Leicester used for?

English Leicester sheep are raised mainly for wool and meat. They were imported to Australia in 1826 which suited well for better carcass and heavy fleece. Leicester breed is a strong constitution, good temperament, milking ability, and high lambing average.

English Leicester sheep breed information

Leicester is a large breed with a heavy curly fleece and lustrous wool.

English Leicester a very sturdy breed can thrive in a wide variety of climatic conditions.

The fleece is white in color, which is long and curly. The English Leicester fleece weight is around 6 kg (15 pounds) with a staple length of 8 to 14 inches and fiber diameter of 32 to 38 microns, with Bradford count of 40s to 46s.

The mature English Leicester ram weighs 113 kg(250 lb) and ewe weighs 80 kg(180 lb).

The lambing percentage is 120 to 150 %.

Ewes are considered to have mothering skills, take care of lambs and plenty of milk to their young ones.

Leicester sheep are alert and robust. They should be active yet docile and easily handled.

Things to know

English Leicester was imported to Australia and New Zealand to the development of other longwool breeds.

Robert Bakewell a pioneer of animal genetics was responsible for improving the English Leicester breed, which is called “Leicester Longwool” in England.

English Leicester breed is also called Bakewell Leicester, Dishley Leicester, Improved Leicester, Leicester Longwool and New Leicester.

The fleece is used to make Braids, suit linings, coatings, costume clothes, and furnishing fabrics.

English Leicester has been exported to mainland Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.

English Leicester is used in Australia as a “Crossing Sire” to improve the carcass qualities of fine wool breeds.

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy classified English Leicester as a “rare” breed.

Brief characteristics of English Leicester sheep

Breed NameEnglish Leicester sheep
Other Name Bakewell Leicester, Dishley Leicester, Improved Leicester, Leicester Longwool and New Leicester
Country/Place of Origin England
Breed Purposewool and meat
Breed Sizelarge
113 kg(250 lb)
Ewe(Female)80 kg(180 lb)
Kiddingsingle or twins
Good for Stall Fedopen grazing 
Climate Tolerancelocal conditions

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