Love a Longwool

In 2020 RBST is focussing on native longwool sheep breeds.

While the Watchlist has shown sheep numbers generally being stable or increasing, some of the longwool breeds have had a sustained decline in numbers over the last decade.

UK Native Longwool Breeds 

  • Border Leicester
  • Cotswold
  • Devon & Cornwall Longwool
  • Greyface Dartmoor
  • Leicester Longwoold
  • Lincoln Longwool
  • Teeswater
  • Wensleydale
  • Whiteface Dartmoor

Our aim is to secure the future of our longwool sheep breeds.

Our objectives are to:

  • Increase the diversity within each breed, making them more resilient
  • Limit inbreeding in each of the breeds through bespoke breeding programmes
  • Use cutting-edge conservation techniques and technology to make sure we safeguard each of the breeds for the next generation
  • Encourage the establishment of new flocks in new locations to improve geographical spread of each breed.

We will do this by:

  • Quantitatively recording the current conservation status of each of the breeds 
  • Carrying out pedigree evaluation analyses for each breed 
  • Establishing breeding programmes in order improve the genetic basis of the breeds
  • Establishing new breeding groups in geographically distinct locations
  • Adding selectively determined germplasm to existing semen stocks in the RBST Gene Bank
  • Promoting their uses for fibre, meat and conservation grazing
  • Applying a multidisciplinary approach in defining the breeds within the wider remit of Natural Capital and public good
  • Supporting breeders in combining modern breeding and conservation techniques with policy in order to identify new market and publicity opportunities 


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