This is Sophie. She was a bummer lamb, abandoned by her mom. On large range-operations, there are high mortality rates for lambs (pneumonia, hypothermia, predators, abandonment). Sophie and two other lambs were rescued by a neighbor who knew the three would die.
Sophie will be turning seven this year.
Sophie was about a year old when I started working at the sanctuary. I thought she was gorgeous and was curious about her breed or mix. I asked the other staff.
They said, a Barbados. But I had met Barbados and, well, Sophie is not one. These are Barbados Blackbelly sheep.
Some key differences between Sophie and Barbados sheep:
Sophie has wool. It's perhaps a little known fact that wool, at least the continuously growing kind, is the by-product of artificial selection and domestication - it's a pretty unnatural process (no self-respecting sheep would thrive happily with 100lbs of wool weighing them down). Wild sheep have hair or light, shedding wool. Some breeds of sheep still have hair - the Barbados is one of them. The texture and make-up of hair is very different than that of wool. While some Barbados may have a light wool, it generally sheds.
Sophie had horns. Barbados sheep are naturally polled, that is they don't have horns. Sophie was de-horned by the sanctuary (a practice we thankfully do not inflict upon any incoming goats and sheep anymore). Sophie was lucky to have been dehorned with anesthesia and post-op pain relief; normally, sheep have either their horns or the forming buds gouged/scooped or burned out of their heads. Ouch!
There are probably other differences I'm missing. Sophie is smaller than most Barbados and she doesn't have their sloping topline. She does have a romanesque nose, but a lot of sheep do. She does have the facial markings but doesn't have the same coloration (her belly isn't black, either).
Now, if you want to make a wild guess about Sophie, do it! I have no clue. She does not have ultra-fine wool but it's not coarse, either. The other lambs rescued from the same flock were both white-faced sheep with white wool and their ears are not as parallel to the ground as Sophie's. (Here's a pic of Simon). They don't produce a lot of wool. Maybe they have Barbados or American Blackbelly in their lineage - crosses aren't uncommon but mostly are used in trophy hunting.
Obviously it's not important to the work we do, but it is sorta fun trying to figure out the less obvious breeds of the animals who come here. :)