SVF Foundation

Hog Island Sheep

Hog Island Sheep

Hog Island sheep are a feral breed that evolved on Hog Island, off the coast of Virginia. Settlers colonized the island in the 1600s and introduced sheep of British descent in the early 1700s. Due to severe weather, the human population abandoned their homes in the 1930s and flocks of sheep were left to survive on the island with minimal human involvement. 

The Nature Conservancy purchased Hog Island in the 1970s. By 1980, all the sheep had been rounded up and removed from the island to prevent overgrazing and destruction of the native habitat. A small population of Hog Island sheep remains on the mainland in the care of dedicated breeders and historic living museums.

Hog Island sheep are small, typically weighing 80 to 100 pounds. They may be horned or polled and white or black. Fierce mothering ability, easy lambing and good feed utilization make Hog Island sheep an important breed to focus on preserving for the future.

Breeder Profile

Hog Island SheepJeff and Ginny Adams of Walnut Hill Farm. in Fredericksburg, VA, have been an invaluable asset to the SVF Hog Island preservation effort. They raise several rare breeds of livestock, including American Milking Devon cattle and Tamworth pigs, and they currently manage the largest remaining flock of Hog Island sheep in existence. The Adamses are always looking for new breed stewards to take on a satellite flock of these critically endangered sheep, so please contact them if you are interested in learning more about Hog Island sheep husbandry.

About the Breed

Sheep graphic

Hog Island, off the coast of Virginia

A few small flocks in the United States

Wool and meat


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