Glasgow Zoo Park
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Domestic Sheep Ovis aries var.

The Zoo contains two types of domestic sheep of several different breeds.
The Dutch Wartbles are a milking breed for cheese production, developed in Holland and growing in popularity in the UK. They are large, eye-catching sheep with dark, near-black wool, white faces, and occasional white socks.

The two other pet sheep kept with the pygmy goats are JAKE - the Greyface, and SEAN, the Suffolk. Both are highly illustrative of the history of Scottish agriculture and sheep production.

The Greyface is the product of crossing a Border-Leicester ram (tup) on a cast, i.e., oldish Black-faced ewe. The female lambs from this union are, on maturity, crossed with the Suffolk to produce the famous fat lambs for human consumption.

Male Greyface lambs usually suffer the same fate at the end of their first summer. Jake was lucky in that he was a hand-reared pet. He is now six years old, and a star turn in our children's birthday parties as he loves human company.

Sean is a hand-reared Suffolk. His slightly 'goofy' look is because he possesses an overshot jaw. In the wild, or in agriculture, or in pedigree sheep breeding, this would immediately disadvantage or disqualify him from future breeding. Sean too is a very tame, non-boisterous pet.

Although all of these sheep appear so different as to seem virtually different species, they are all the same species and freely inter-breed. The ancestor of all domestic sheep is the mouflon with which domestic sheep will also inter-breed if they get the chance. Pure wild mouflon populations in Europe are restricted to Corsica, Sardinia, and Cyprus, although they are plentiful in the Middle East, eastwards. Reintroduced generic populations exist in some numbers in France (over 50,000) and other countries where they are hunted in the manner of roe deer.