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New Zealand Sheep breeds


Developed in the 1960s from Border Leicester and Romney breeds, the Coopworth has rapidly become popular at the Romney’s expense on wetter lowlands and easier hill country. The breed was registered in 1968 and because of its success numbers have increased to more than seven million.

The breed takes its name from Professor Ian Coop of Lincoln College in Canterbury, who initiated research on which the Coopworth Society bases strict breeding requirements. This performance data emphasises high lambing percentages, have fleece weights, physical soundness, rapid weight gains, easy care and mothering abilities.

Overseas interest has increased in recent years and the breed has been exported to Eastern Europe, the United States and Australia.

The Coopworth produces a lustrous fleece, noted for its good length, colour and spinning qualities. It is used in heavier apparels and carpets.

Dual-purpose breed with equal emphasis on meat and wool. Coarse, long lustrous wool.

Widespread throughout New Zealand on lowlands and improved hill country.

Medium-to-large sheep with white face and legs clear of wool. Usually some wool on the poll.

7.3 million

Body weight
50–60 kg

Wool production
Fibre diameter 35–39 microns
Staple length 125–175 mm
Fleece weight 4.5–6 kg

Lamb production
110–130 per cent


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