There are over thirty million sheep in Britain belonging to more than sixty different breeds. They are almost as varied in shape, colour and size as the many breeds of dog but are far less well-known. The sheep industry in Britain is based on a stratified system which makes the best use of the harsh mountains of Scotland, Wales and northern England, as well as of the more fertile and mild regions of southern Britain. It has helped to develop a rich range of specialist regional breed types. This book places the breeds into intelligible groups by outlining the way the national industry works, classifying their different roles and determining where each breed fits into an overall picture. Each breed and its wool is featured, and illustrated with an extensive collection of pictures.
Elizabeth Henson grew up on a Cotswold farm where her father, Joe Henson, maintains a collection of rare breeds of farm animals alongside his commercial farm. This collection is open to the public as the Cotswold Farm Park. She obtained an MA Honours degree in Zoology at Oxford University and a MSc in domestic animal genetics at Edinburgh before returning to manage the Cotswold Farm Park. She has worked for a number of sheep and cattle breed societies, was Executive Director of the American Livestock Breeds Conservance and has served as a member of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust Council.