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  • Welcome to Sheep 101. The purpose of Sheep 101 is to teach 4-H and FFA members, students, teachers, beginning shepherds, and the general public about sheep, their products, how they are raised, and their contributions to society. The site uses simple language and pictures to illustrate the various topics. To begin learning about sheep, click on a link in the menu bar or choose a topic from the drop down menu above.

  • About the author. The author of Sheep 101 is Susan Schoenian, Sheep & Goat Specialist at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center. Susan has been with University of Maryland Extension since 1988. She raises Katahdin sheep on her small farm, called The Baalands, in Clear Spring, Maryland. Susan has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Science degrees from Virginia Tech and Montana State University, respectively.

  • Susan Schoenian
    Sheep & Goat Specialist
    W. MD Research & Education Center
    University of Maryland Extension - (301) 432-2767 x343

racing sheep

Racing sheep
Photo courtesy of Rick Turner

Mutton bustng
Mutton busting
Photo link from

Sheep on the White House Lawn
Sheep on the White House lawn
Photo courtesy of
Presidential Pet Museum


    George's Believe It Or Not

  • Racing sheep amble in Emmaville, bolt in Bideford
    Champion racehorses burst from their starting boxes and charge towards the finish line, eager to win. Racing sheep, by contrast, usually prefer to amble. That's why horse races are more popular than sheep races. But, an English farmer claims one of his racing rams established world record by covering a 220-yard course (which included a ewe-turn) in just 17 seconds. [text courtesy of Eric Shackle]

    The Hoo Farm in Shropshire, England, is famous for sheep steeplechasing. In fact, at one time, the hurdles for steeplechasing contained flocks of sheep.

  • Six seconds
    Mutton-busting is a rodeo event for small children, 4 to 7 years old and weighing under 50 to 60 pounds, who ride a sheep bareback from the chute to the other end of the arena. While the sheep don't buck much, the ride dislodges most youngins. The goal is to ride the sheep for six seconds. Youngsters hang onto the sheep's wool. They wear helmets for protection.

  • Legendary sheep show
    In the Agrodome Sheep Show, 19 champion rams of different breeds wait on a platform before making their entrances. After all 19 rams are in place, a shearing demonstration is given with another sheep. At the end of the show, Border Collies demonstrate their agility by running over the backs of the rams.

    The New Zealand Agrodome is a 160-hectare working sheep and cattle farm with 1,200 sheep and 120 beef cattle. In 1999, the Agrodome opened a woollen mill that shows all aspects of New Zealand wool processing. The Agrodome gives international visitors to New Zealand a real, hands-on, live experience of farming and a total interaction with sheep, goats, cattle, deer, and baby lambs.

  • White House woolies
    President Woodrow Wilson grazed sheep on the White House South Lawn. The wool obtained from the sheep was sold to raise money for the Red Cross during World War I. The flock included "Old Ike," a tobacco-chewing ram.

  • Fighting City Hall
    For six months during the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis in Great Britain, 62 year old Moira Linaker defied government orders to cull her flock of rare sheep. Moira won her battle to save her sheep and tells her story in the book, Behind Chained Gates.

    Go to The Eden Flock - Pedigree Ryeland Sheep=>

  • Fighting sheep
    In some countries, sheep are used for fighting. The sheep are trained to fight at a young age. They are chosen for their size. They start fighting when they are 3 years old. Their "career" last for about four years. Sheep fighting is usually part of a celebratory festival such as Eid al adha (the Festival of Sacrifice). In some countries, tournaments are organized, and the victorious rams are exhibited on the main roads of towns.

    View picture of fighting sheep=>