Rocky Mountain Natural Colored Sheep Breeders Association

RMNCSBA Membership Directory

Here is our year 2012 membership directory with a listing of sheep breeds and sheep and wool products that each member has to offer. Following are summaries of some of the types of sheep raised for hand spinners today, including a brief description of breed characteristics and type of wool produced by each breed.

Members of the Rocky Mountain Natural Colored Sheep Breeders Association who raise the various types of sheep are listed below each breed. Please contact these producers if you have specific questions about a particular breed or type of wool produced.

Here is an alphabetical listing of the members.

Breeds of Sheep:

Australian Bond:   *Gleason

California Variegated Mutant (CVM):   *DeFreece   *Grimsley   *Lynch   *Phillips

Corriedale:   *Barr   *Bickell   *Gleason   *Grimsley   *Kotts   *Phillips   *Vair

Cotswold:   *Lynch

Icelandic:   *Firor & Perry

Jacob:   *Perry

Merino:   *Kotts

Navajo-Churro:   *Barr   *Priest

Rambouillet:   *Jennings

Shetland:   *DeKieffer   *Driskill   *Powers  

Tunis:   *Powers

Wensleydale:   *Phillips


An Australian breed established in 1909, this sheep was first known as the "Commercial Corriedale" or Bond Corriedale. It was produced by crossing Lincoln Rams with Peppin Merino ewes, and was bred to produce a soft handling, finer wool than the Corriedale. It is now recognised as a separate breed. This sheep grows a bulky fleece of 62s to 56s count, with a fiber diameter of 22 to 27 microns, with a 5 inch staple.

* Gleason


Bond ewe

Bond Ewe photo courtesy of Gleason' Fine Woolies

California Variegated Mutant ewe

California Variegated Mutant ewe photo courtesy of Sharon Hayden, Blue Moon Farm


The California Variegated Mutant (CVM) breed was developed by Glen Eidman in the early 1960s. Mr. Eidman developed CVMs from a Romeldale flock (Romney and Rambouillet cross) specifically with handspinners in mind. Many CVMs have a badger face with color patterns in the wool varying widely, including gray/black, solid black, brown, silver and spotted. Wool type is medium-fine with a staple length of 3 to 5 inches and a spinning count of 58 to 64.

* DeFreece  *Grimsley  * Lynch  * Phillips


California Variegated Mutant lamb

California Variegated Mutant ewe lamb photo courtesy of Chris Spitzer, YellowCreek Cottage


The Corriedale originated in New Zealand and Australia and was developed from Merino and Lincoln crosses. Corriedales were imported into the United States in 1914. Wool type is medium to medium-fine with a staple length of 3-1/2 to 6 inches and a spinning count of 50s-60s.

* Barr  * Bickell  * Gleason  *Grimsley  * Kotts  * Phillips  * Vair


Corriedale ram

Corriedale Ram photo courtesy of Gleason's Fine Woolies


The Cotswold is one of the oldest breeds of sheep, serving as the cornerstone of England's wool economy throughout the Middle Ages. Cotswolds were developed from Border Leicester, Hampshire, and German Whitehead crosses and were imported into the United States in 1832. Wool type is coarse to very coarse with a staple length of 8 to 14 inches and a spinning count of 40 and below. The wool is noted for its natural wavy curls. A notable characteristic of this breed is the long wool hanging over the face.

* Lynch 



The Icelandic sheep are of medium size, fine boned with open face and legs and udders. The breed has both polled and horned individual of both sexes but it is primarily horned. Icelandic sheep are not particularly tall but broad and have an excellent conformation as a meat breed.
The fleece has an inner and outer coat typical of the more primitive breeds with the fine undercoat being called Thel and the long, coarser outer coat called Tog. The fleeces are open and not very greasy. The average fleece weighs 4-5 lbs. The Thel is down like, springy, lustrous and soft. The longer tog coat is similar to mohair, wavy or corkscrewed rather than crimped.

* Firor & Perry


Jacob Sheep

Jacob sheep photo courtesy of Louise Martin & Tom Davis, Owlhead Sheep & Wool


The Jacob is an English long wool breed with distinctive large spots and a set of four horns. The Jacob fleece is properly described as white with black spots. The white and the black wool, which may fade at the tips to dark brown, may blend to various shades of grey. The wool is of medium grade. Ideally, the animal should be 40% black and 60% white, with certain characteristic patterns. The legs should be predominantly white, with black hooves and black knees and hocks. The desired Jacob face is frequently referred to as "badger faced', with black cheeks and muzzle, but a white blaze down the front of the face.

* Perry 


Jacob Rams

Jacob Rams photo courtesy of Lorraine Perry, Schafewald Farm

Merino Ewe

Merino photo courtesy of Norma Degenhart, Degenhart Merinos


No breed can boast a longer line of ancestry than the Merino, some say to the time of the Ceasars. The breed originated when the Spanish crossed Roman Tarentine sheep with Laodicean sheep from Asia Minor. The Delaine-Merino is the most common of the Merino types in the United States today. Wool grade is fine to very fine with a staple length of 2-3/4 to 4 inches and a spinning count of 64s-80s.

* Kotts  



The Navajo-Churro was developed from Spanish Churros and was the first breed of domesticated sheep in the United States. Native Americans have historically used the wool to make blankets and rugs. The fleece contains three distinctive fibers: (1) an outer coat up to 10 inches long with a spinning count in the 30s, (2) a shorter inner coat which may spin as fine as 64, and (3) kemp, which must not be more than 2 percent of the entire fleece.

* Barr   * Priest


Navajo Churro Ram

Navajo Churro Ram photo courtesy of Nancy Priest, of El Churro Colorado


The Rambouillet was King Louis XVI's answer to the Spanish Merino. In 1786, the King of Spain sent 359 Merinos to France to help improve native French sheep stock. French records indicate the resulting sheep have been pure bred at the Rambouillet Estate since 1801. The Rambouillet was imported into the United States in the mid-1800's. Wool type is fine to very fine with a staple length of 2 to 4 inches and a spinning count of 60s-80s.

* Jennings 


Shetland Rams

Shetland Ram photo courtesy of Vicki Baldwin, Kevs Korner


The Shetland is an ancient sheep originating from the British Isles and imported into Canada and the United States in the 1980s. Shetland wool comes in a great range of natural colors which adds to its value, especially for hand spinners. Traditionally, Shetland wool is used for wedding shawls which can be pulled through a bride's ring. Shetland wool is the finest of the British Isles breeds with a staple length of 4 to 5 inches.

* DeKieffer   * Driskill  * Powers 


Shetland Ram

Shetland Ram photo courtesy of Stephen Rouse, Sheltering Pines Shetlands

Tunis ram

Tunis sheep photo courtesy of Deb Powers


The modern Tunis sheep originated by combining Middle-Eastern fat-tailed sheep imported from Tunisia, on the Northern coast of Africa, with sheep locally available in America around 1799. This makes them among the oldest breeds of livestock developed in America.

The Tunis are a medium sized sheep. They are known for their calm disposition, long lives, easy birthing, high rate of twinning, fine flavor, heat tolerance and vigor. Tunis wool is lustrous and long-stapled, four to six inches. A ewe fleece typically weighs 6-9 pounds, and a ram fleece may be up to 12 pounds. Fiber diameter is 26 to 30 microns.

* Powers

Tunis ewes

Tunis sheep photo courtesy of Deb Powers



The modern Wensleydale is a very large long wooled sheep, with long-stapled (up to 12"), lustrous wool that falls in long curly ringlets almost to ground level in unshorn sheep. Described by the British Meat and Livestock Commission as "probably the heaviest of all our indigenous breeds." It is a visually striking sheep with considerable presence. It has a bold and alert carriage which is accentuated by its broad, level back and heavy muscling in the hindquarters. It has a distinctive deep blue head and ears, which should be clean except for a well developed forelock of wool. Both sexes are polled.

* DeFreece  * Phillips


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