About > Breed Overview

The Economical Breed

With today's high costs of feeds and grains, Southdowns are in demand because they are economical to feed and maintain. Few breeds, if any, can rival Southdowns in their ability to convert grass and smaller amounts of grain into lean red meat.

The Meat Breed

Southdowns are an excellent carcass breed and their meat is unequaled in tenderness and flavor. Southdowns have won the carcass division at the Houston Livestock Show many times competing against all breeds!

Ideal for Small Acreage

Southdowns are docile and easy to manage, and because of their moderate size, they require less space than most other breeds of sheep.

Make Great youth Projects

Southdowns make excellent 4-H and FFA projects. They are a favorite among youth of all ages because of their gentle disposition and moderate size.

First to “Slick Shear”

Description: pacerThe American Southdown Breeders' Association took a stand several years ago by requiring all breeding show animals to be shorn to the hide. This shearing rule has made a positive impact on all Southdown junior and open shows across the United States. It is not uncommon at many fairs and expositions for Southdowns to have the largest number of animals exhibited of any of the sheep breeds shown.

The Supreme Breed

Southdowns are winning numerous supreme championships over all breeds at shows across the United States. At the North American International Livestock Exposition held each year in Louisville, Kentucky, Southdowns have reigned "supreme" on four occasions! Likewise, at the last three Midwest Stud Ram Sales Southdowns have been awarded Supreme Champion Ewe.

Southdown History

The Southdown is one of the oldest purebred sheep breeds in the world. The breed originated centuries ago in the hills of Sussex, England, long know as the "Downs."
There is little written history or description of the Southdown dating earlier than two hundred fifty years ago. The early Southdown was noted for some important qualities for which they have since become especially famous, they had a good leg, and their meat was excellent, possessing remarkable flavor.
Early literature indicates that Southdowns were among the animals brought into the English colonies as early as 1640. Later, documented importations where made into the United States from 1824 to 1829 from the English flock of John Ellman.

The New Zealand Influence

The 1960's saw increased importation of the larger New Zealand Southdown to upscale the American Southdown. The increased size resulting from blending the New Zealand genetics into many flock across the U.S. is the reason for much of the success and popularity of the modern day Southdown.