The Cheviot originated in the Cheviot Hills, on the border of England and Scotland.
Recognized as a hardy sheep as early as 1372, Cheviots did well in those bleak, windswept
conditions, with their strong constitution, easy lambing, well developed mothering
instinct, and fast maturity. Introduced to Australia in 1938, the Cheviot has proved its
ability to withstand the cold, wet Winters of Southern Australia, and is a vigorous
forager through the hot, dry summers, when feed is scarce. The breed was introduced
into the United States in 1838 from their native Scotland.
The Cheviot is a distinctive white-faced sheep, with a wool-free face and legs, pricked
ears, black muzzle and black feet. It is a very alert, active sheep, with a stylish,
The Cheviot is a long-wool type, hornless and of reasonable frame. Initially it
developed some popularity in Australia as a sire of top quality prime lambs as well as for
crossing with Merinos to produce prime lamb mothers.
Cheviot wool has a distinctive helical crimp, which gives it that highly desirable
resilience. Cheviot wool is often blended into other yarns to give resilience and
durability to the finished article. The fleece is dense and long-stapled, of 56s-50s
quality, and springy to the touch. These special properties also help reduce fleece rot
and fly strike problems.
Bred to look after themselves, Cheviots need less husbandry. Their ease of lambing and
strong mothering instinct means fewer lambing problems. Hard black feet make them less
prone to foot rot. Their tendency for worm resistance means less drenching, less crutching
and less fly strike. With wool-free faces, Cheviots never suffer from wool blindness.
Mature body weight for the rams is 160 to 200 pounds (72-90 kg) with the ewes weighing
slightly less at 120 to 160 pounds (55-72 kg). Mature ewes will average a five to ten
pound (2.25-4.5 kg) fleece that has a micron measurement of 27.0 - 33.0 and a spinning
count of 48-56. The staple length of the fleece will be three to five inches (7.5-12 cm)
with a yield of 50 to 75 percent.