Southdown - The Breed
Description of a Southdown Sheep
Firstly the sheep should have good character and appearance;
Wide, with no sign of slug or dark poll. Nostrils full and wide. Strong lower jaw. Teeth fitting well up on the pad.
Full, of medium length from the eyes to nose. Hair of soft texture, even mouse colour with no approaching black or speckled. No wool on face below or around the eye.
Large, prominent and bright.
Of medium size and thickness, with soft hair covering of similar colour to face, wool cover is undesirable.
Wide at the base, strong and well set into the shoulders, with as few wrinkles as possible. Throat clean.
Well set, level with the back, well covered, not too heavy and allowing free movement, no depression behind the blades.
Ample width and of sufficient depth.
Long, level and firm with a deep, firm, wide and well muscled loin.
Well sprung with fore and hind flanks fully developed.
Broad, almost level with the spine.
(Including thighs) should be full, well let down with a deep wide twist allowing for a deep cut of meat and giving strength to the back leg and freedom of movement.
Of medium length but strong with thick bone, having a slightly forward setting from the vertical line of the pin bone. Hocks should be thick and strong.
The forearm should be strong and thick with meat. The canon bone should be strong and of medium length.
Should be black with the sheep standing square on. The pastern should be well sprung but not sagging. The legs should have no wool cover below knee or hock. Hair cover should match face colour and not have black or brown above the hoof.
Good size, well hung, carrying two normally well developed testicles.
Of a healthy pink not inclined to blue or spotted and should not have wrinkles over the body.
Even and firm handling all over.
Short, dense and of fine texture with no brown wool or fibres. Suggested wool count 25 micron or finer.
Free and active, head well carried.
It is extremely important to bear in mind that the main object of breeding Southdowns is to provide the best sire for crossing with other breeds to produce the ideal prime lamb. The sheep desired is one with a maximum of meat with sufficient, but no waste fat and attention paid to keeping the weight on the more valuable cuts. Of great importance also is to present a sheep having clear face and legs which is attractive to the buyer.