SVF Foundation

Leicester Longwool Sheep

Leicester Longwool Sheep

The Leicester Longwool breed, also known as the English Leicester (pronounced Lester) was developed in the mid-1700s in England. The innovative breeder Robert Bakewell transformed the Lincoln Longwool - a coarse, large-boned, slow-growing sheep - into an animal with rapid growth and a higher quality fleece. News of Bakewell’s success soon reached the American colonies and intrigued George Washington to choose Leicester rams for his own flock.

Leicester Longwool sheep are medium to large, averaging 110-250 pounds. Their lustrous fleece is long, curly and heavy and highly valued by hand-spinners and weavers.  This breed is generally white, but colors range from black to English blue (deep grey to silver).  These sheep are docile and very easily-handled; however they are not keen on herding dogs!

 The Leicester Longwool breed has tremendous historic and genetic value. They have had a part in improving or founding many other modern sheep breeds, especially the “longwool” varieties. Even though this breed has a distinguished past, it remains rare globally; therefore it is a conservation priority.

Breed Association:
Leicester Longwool Sheep Breeders Association –

About the Breed

Sheep graphic

Great Britain

North America, United Kingdom, Australia



Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required