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[she' vE ot] a breed of sheep known for both its wool and its meat
Cheviot originated in the Cheviot Hills, which form the border between England and Scotland, where it was recognized as a hardy breed as early as 1372.
The Cheviot's strong constitution make it ideally suited for living in harsh conditions. "Native" Cheviots often spend their entire lives in pastures, rarely if ever seeing the inside of a barn or shed, in summer and winter. Because it lambs easily and ewes have well developed mothering instincts, they can be raised with little human intervention. In addition, while most sheep tend to feed in huge flocks that can quickly strip a pasture, Cheviots tend to spread out over a relatively wide area and can, therefore, be left in the same pasture for a much longer period of time than can other breeds.
This breed is distinguished by the high carriage of its head and its quick, coordinated stride. The ewe has fine, hard, white hair on her face, over the crown, and on her legs. The fleece is dense and firm. There is no wool on the head or on the face in front of the ears, nor below the knees and hocks. Rams may have horns. One of the smaller breeds, Cheviot rams mature at 160 to 200 pounds, ewes at 130 to 170 pounds.
Left: Cheviot ewe
Cheviots produce generous fleeces of white wool that is notable for its fineness, crimp, and length of staple. Rams usually shear 9 to 13 pounds of fleece, ewes 8 to 10. Well known for its superior spinning and combing qualities, Cheviot wool was once the base for the Border Tweed industry.
Although Cheviot wool is still used in the modern tweed and carpet industries, most Cheviot sheep today are raised for the quality of their meat, which is particularly notable for its high meat-to-fat ratio.
This page was last updated on 01/09/2017.