Genetics of Swedish Gotland Sheep

The Gotland sheep breed is an indigenous Swedish breed belonging to the North European short-tailed group.  It originates from an ancient horned type from which breeding has resulted in a loss of horns and a production of fleece that is uniform in structure and colour.

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A Gotland pelt of high quality has a considerable fleece volume that covers the skin well with a resilient and uniform curl.  The colour is typically clean and the pelts light and soft.

Selection for an improved curly fleece started around 1930 and today Gotland lambs are characterised by natural shades of grey and an unrivalled  lustrous, curly fleece. 

To ensure the maintenance and continued evolution of Gotland sheep, In Sweden each year, 20,000 lambs are inspected whereby the deepest two centimetres of the fleece is studied on one side of the lamb and six pelt characteristics are judged:

  • Nuance / score for fleece colour
  • Size / score for curl
  • Quality of wool
  • Thickness of fleece

Today in New Zealand, Tawhai Gotland Stud is proud to continue the Gotland breed evolution and offers an opportunity for like-minded farmers to  purchase genetics to begin their own breeding programmes. In addition, the pelts and wool that the Gotland sheep are famous for are offered for sale. For more information about Gotland sheep, please contact us or visit our online shop.

[source:  Genetic study on pelt quality traits in the Gotland sheep breed, Anna Nasholm 16 Sept 2004]