Jacob (sheep)

Jacob (Sheep)

Sheep Breed
Sheep Breed Less

Jacob (sheep)

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Description:
The Jacob sheep is a rare breed of small, piebald (black and white spotted), polycerate (multi-horned) sheep. Jacobs may have as many as six horns, but most commonly have four. Jacobs are usually raised for their wool, meat, and hides. They are also kept as pets and ornamental animals, and have been used as guard animals to protect farm property from theft or vandalism and defend other livestock against predator.

Generally referred to as an unimproved or heirloom breed (one that has survived with little human selection), the Jacob is descended from an ancient Old World breed of sheep, although its exact origins remain unclear. Spotted polycerate sheep were documented in England by the mid–17th century, and were widespread a century later. Unlike most other old world breeds, the Jacobs of North America have not undergone extensive cross-breeding and selective breeding; their body habitus resembles that of a goat. Relative to their American counterparts, British Jacobs tend to be larger and heavier, and have lost many of their original characteristics through artificial selection.

History



The origins of the Jacob are obscure, but it is certainly a very old breed. Piebald sheep have been described throughout history, appearing in works of art from the Far East, Middle East, and Mediterranean regions. A piebald breed of sheep probably existed in the Levant, specifically in the area that is now known as Syria, about three thousand years...
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