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New Zealand Sheep breeds


Bred to thrive on drier, easier South Island hill country, the Corriedale was New Zealand’s first distinct indigenous breed. Pioneered by James Little, manager of Corriedale Station in North Otago, the Corriedale emerged in 1868 by mating rams of British longwool breeds to Merino ewes and interbreeding the progeny. Lincoln and English Leicester rams were used mainly, but Romney and Border Leicester also served as sires to the initial half-breeds. Interbred selections produced a dual-purpose sheep with a good heavy fleece.

The Corriedale was recognised as an “inbred halfbred” in the Sheep Breeders’ Association Flock Book in 1906. It has enjoyed continued popularity as a dual-purpose breed and has found favour with overseas breeders who look to New Zealand to provide top quality replacement stock. New Zealand Corriedales have provided the foundation of flocks in Australia, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, China and elsewhere.

The wool is used for medium-weight outer garments, worsteds, light tweeds and hand-knitting yarns.

Dual-purpose breed with equal emphasis on meat and wool. Medium to fine wool with well-defined lock and pronounced and even crimp. Lambs have good length of carcase and muscling.

Mainly throughout Canterbury with some in Otago and Marlborough on drier lowland, and in the drier parts of the North Island.

Medium-sized sheep with white face and legs and black nose. They usually have some wool on the face and a well-covered poll.

2.8 million

Body weight:
Ewes: 65–80 kg
Rams: 85–105 kg

Wool production:
Fibre diameter: 28–33 microns
Staple length: 75–125 mm
Fleece weight: 4.5–6.5 kg

Lamb production:
90–130 per cent


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