What is a Jacob sheep sheep? (Jacob sheep)

The Jacob sheep takes its name from the Biblical story of Jacob. Jacob was allowed, as a reward, to isolate and preserve all the spotted sheep from the Laban flock. Where the Jacob sheep originally came from is unfortunately not known. What is known is that these sheep have been roaming around since before the era we know today. The sheepskin can have different colors. The base of the fleece is white and the sheep often has tight brown or black spots all over its body. The majority of sheep have the coloring white with black.

What are characteristics of the Jacob sheep?

The Jacob sheep is small but solidly built with a broad, straight back. By nature, the Jacob sheep is somewhat shy. The animal can survive well on moderate grasses. The head of the Jacob sheep has no wool but short soft hairs. This sheep also has a blaze running over its head. The blaze is the white stripe that runs over the head of the animal.

The color of the wool can be white with brown as well as white with black. The dark wool must have a good, tight edge separation so that nice areas can be seen. The colors should not be mixed, and it is also desirable that there is no dark skin under the white wool. The wool of a lamb is still very fine, later when the sheep gets older the wool will become coarser. The length of the wool can vary from ± 7cm to ±15cm.

An adult ram has a weight of about 80 to 100 kilograms. And an adult ewe has a weight of about 40 to 60 kilograms. A ewe can give birth to two lambs at a time, but sometimes three lambs are born. The Jacob sheep is also a reasonably fertile breed. Birth problems are very rare with this breed. They can easily finish their lambs without the help of a veterinarian.

Surely the most striking feature of the Jacob sheep is its horns. Both ram and ewe can have horns, which can vary from two to six. The horns can be small or very large and also come in four different shapes. A sheep can have two small horns that point backwards. But also two large horns that grow in a spiral shape around the ears. The sheep can also have four horns, two large horns that are on top of its head and grow straight up and two horns that grow from the side of the head usually with a slight curl forward. A sheep can also have six horns, but this is very rare. There are also polled Jacob sheep.

The history of the Jacob sheep

Where the Jacob sheep came from is not known. It is a breed of sheep from the ancient world and has been roaming the earth for many years. Documentation and sources over the years indicate that spotted and variegated sheep were roaming around what we now know as Syria and its environs about three thousand years ago. Evidence has also been found such as Egyptian wall paintings from 1800 BC and Sicilian pottery from 600 BC depicting sheep with large horns. Excavations and research have shown that the Jacob sheep is descended from very old breeds of sheep. Several excavations yielded, among other things, bones and skulls that showed many similarities to the Jacob sheep of today. This sheep was also written about in the story about Jacob. Peter Paul Rubens' 1624 work "The Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau" depicts two Jacob sheep.

Around 1900, the Jacob sheep had very little commercial value. Most sheep at that time were used for grazing among other things, the animal was then also called the "park sheep". Due to lack of interest the Jacob sheep threatened to become extinct. In 1969 a group of sheep breeders and scientists decided to continue breeding these animals in order to preserve the breed. Today, the sheep breed is no longer on the endangered species list.