Breed Descriptions

Barbados Blackbelly

A Barbados Blackbelly ram is polled—it does not have horns. The ewes are also polled. There are fewer than 200 Barbados Blackbelly sheep in the U.S. If you have a polled ram, please let us know. We desperately need your help in preserving these rare genetics!

Photo by Glenn & Sheryl Hill, Oakland, AR

American Blackbelly

An American Blackbelly ram looks almost exactly like a Barbados Blackbelly, but it has horns. The American Blackbelly ewe may or may not have horns. Therefore, if you have only ewes it is impossible to tell by looking at them which breed they are.

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American Blackbelly sheep

Photo by Chris Buchanan, Decatur, AL


A barbado sheep isn't a breed of sheep but rather a descriptive word that folks, primarily in Texas, use to describe the cross-breeds that look similar to Barbados Blackbelly and American Blackbelly sheep. Barbado sheep may not necessarily have black bellies or even facial barbs.

Photo by Nancy Richardson, Santa Fe, MO

How big will these sheep get?

A mature blackbelly ewe will top out at 80-90 lb. A mature blackbelly ram will weigh between 100-130 lb. Some people report that American Blackbelly rams are, in general, lighter weight than Barbados Blackbelly rams, topping out at 100 lb.

Why do my sheep look like they have leprosy in the spring?

These are hair sheep and every spring their hair sheds just as it does on your cat or dog. Most of the time they will scratch it off, but they can look shaggy for months.