Soay Sheep - British and North American

Soay sheep are from the Isle of Soay in the St. Kilda group of islands off the coast of Scotland (Outer Hebrides). These are a rare breed - are in the conservation status - and are fun and fiesty little sheep, ranging from 20 - 24" at the withers and weigh in at about 45 - 70#s. There are two lines in North America (Canada and the United States) that come from the original four sheep imported from Scotland into Ontario, Canada in 1974 (the North American line) and the six from Scotland and England into Montreal in 1990, 22 offspring from the latter importation were later imported into the US aka (the pure British [RBST]).

Tanzanite"The Soay have been called the only living example of the small, primitive sheep which inhabited the British Isles before the coming of the Norsemen and the Romans. These sheep were numerous before the time of the Roman occupation. Their name is derived from the island of Soay off the coast of Scotland.

The largest number of this breed are now found on Hirta which is one of the island of the St. Kilda group. In 1932 this island was evacuated and, in 1932, 107 Soay sheep (20 rams, 44 ewes, 22 ram lambs and 21 ewe lambs) were brought from the island of Soay and released.

The Soay are small framed, good legs and a fleece varying from light to dark brown and sheds naturally in the summer. The males of this breed are horned and the females may be either polled or horned. The fleece is remarkable fine and, in contrast to mouflon, the inner fleece is highly developed and it is difficult to distinguish a outer coat. This is a clear indication that the Soay are indeed the product of a breed domesticated in prehistoric times. It is in many ways remarkable to note the extent to which the outer coat has been removed, especially considering their years of feral existence. The breed also lacks the flocking instinct of many breeds. Attempts to work them using sheep dogs result in a scattering of the group.**

The fleece is shed each spring and is used for hand knitting yarns. The wool quality is 44's to 50's, fleece weight is 3 to 5 pounds (1.5-2.25 kg) and staple length is 5 to 15 cm."

(**Please note: I have been working Soay with my Aussies for a couple years now and find that they will flock naturally. The issue here is that they are extremely light working sheep, move more like deer and have a flight zone of 60 feet or more. They are workable but they are FAST and stay light no matter how often you work them. They are by far the lightest sheep I have ever worked, more so than Barbs. The moms are also extremely protective of their young. If you are interested in using these for training, they are NOT for a beginner.)

My goal is to have a pure line of RBST (British) Soay sheep. Currently my North American Soay have a high percentage of RBST British lineage. I have both British and North American Soay.

Prices start at $300.

The best link on Soay History:  and