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Zwartbles sheep

Zwartbles sheep of the Friesland region of Holland were developed for milk and cheese production.

Changes in dairying practice this century caused them to decline, until they were adopted by the Dutch Rare Breed Survival Trust in the mid-1970s. In 1985 a Flock Book was formed, and numbers have steadily increased.
In 1995, a Zwartbles Sheep Association was formed in Great Britain after some of these attractive sheep were imported from Holland.

Breeds of sheep, perhaps more than any other type of domesticated animal, closely reflect the specialised requirements of their native, historical homelands. The sheep the Middle East, in biblical times and now, were almost certainly a variety of the lop-eared, fat-tailed sheep so prevalent in Africa and Mediterranean regions to this day. In Britain we think of sheep as producers of wool and meat. All over the Middle East and Europe, however, sheep have been bred with the primary purpose of producing milk for distinctive cheeses.