Merino

About the oldest and most common breed in the world.

Origin and Characteristics

The sheep


The Merino is one of the most historically relevant and economically influential breeds of sheep, much prized for its wool. The breed was originated and improved in Extremadura, in southwestern Spain, around the 12th century; it was instrumental in the economic development of 15th and 16th century Spain, which held a monopoly on its trade, and since the end of the 18th century it was further refined in New Zealand and Australia, giving rise to the modern Merino.


Merino is an excellent forager and very adaptable. It is bred predominantly for its wool, and its carcass size is generally smaller than that of sheep bred for meat. Poll Merinos have no horns (or very small stubs, known as scurs), and horned Merino rams have long, spiral horns which grow close to the head.

Origin and Characteristics

The wool


Merino wool is fine and soft. It contains a large amount of lanoline. Merino wool is generally less than 24 micron (μm) in diameter. Basic Merino types include: strong (broad) wool (23–24.5 μm), medium wool (19.6–22.9 μm), fine (18.6–19.5 μm), superfine (15–18.5 μm) and ultra-fine (11.5–15 μm). Merino is perfect for next to skin garments!


The merino is late-maturing. The animal is only adult at the age of 3. A ewe gives 1,5 lam on everage. They are affectionate and well-behaved, both ewes and rams. Although often sugested differently, the merino does very well in the Netherlands and Belgium. It has no problem with our climate!


The wool is evenly divided throughout the body, and the finest of all breeds, the fiber structure and thickness is uniform over the entire fleece and the wool quality is the same everywhere.


A merino fleece approximately has 50,000,000 fibers. If you compare it with romney that has "only" 15,000,000!

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