Breed Standard

The Cotswold Sheep Breed Standard

Mr W.S. Harmer of Cirencester wrote this description of an ‘IDEAL COTSWOLD’ in 1891. It is still adopted today as the Cotswold Sheep Society’s breed and show standard.

The Head should be wide between the eyes, and the eye itself, full, dark and prominent, but mild and kindly, and in no way coarse about the brow. The face should be proportionately wide to the space between the eyes, but not too flat, and should run of much the same width to the nostrils, which must be well expanded and somewhat broader than the face, with the skin on the nose of a dark colour. The cheek is full, and, as is the face, well covered with white hair; a just perceptible blue tinge on the cheek and around the eyes ‘being rather fancied’. The ear, long, but not heavy, of medium thickness, and covered with the same short soft hair, should be carried well up, while black spots on the point of the ears are not considered objectionable.

The top of the head should not be coarse or bald, but covered with wool, not hair, and the Cotswold is to be distinguished by a fine tuft of wool on the forehead. The head should be sufficiently long to save it from being called short and thick, but it should not have a long, lean appearance.

Grey faces still crop up occasionally in all the best hill flocks.

The neck should be big and muscular, and should be gently curved to enable the sheep to carry the head well up, thereby giving the animal a grand appearance. The neck should be slightly smaller at the ears than where it comes from the shoulders.

The shoulder should lay well back, and the point of the shoulder should be well covered with flesh, as also the chines.

The ribs should be deep, well sprung from the back.

The rump should be carried out on a level with the back, giving the animal a square looking frame.

The leg of mutton well et down to the hock, and thick on the outside. The legs, both front and hind, should be straight, moderate in length, well set outside the body. The pastern joints, both front and hind, should be short.

The whole body should have a firm, solid touch (not loose and flabby), and be well covered with thick set, long and lustrous wool.