Roussin sheep are an imported breed from France. The Roussin breed have many qualities that make it suitable as a maternal and terminal breed.
The following standard has been taken directly from OSCAR, which is the French ‘centre for excellence’ so speak, for the three main breeds of Normandy, including the Roussin.
Head: Hornless, short, awake, expressive faces, covered with a brown-red hair. A wool fiber (analyzed separately) is dark brown with a russet effect at the end. Overall, the color rendition should be neither too dark nor too light.
The forehead is usually not woolly.
Straight profile with slight depression in the eyes.
The chamfer is slightly concaviline, covered with fine and short hairs, brown or salmon skin and sometimes pigmented. Cheeks discovered with dark mucous membranes.
Ears: Implanted high and erect, mobile. Covered with fine and short hairs, salmon brown skin sometimes pigmented. Cheeks covered. Dark mucous membranes.
Trunk: Straight, wide and regular. Chest open and down. Kidneys (loin) thick and well attached.
Testis: They are well attached (not too pendulous) and not lain.
Members (legs): Covered with a hair identical to that of the head. Shoulders relatively well rounded. Legs well developed, thick and down.
Aplombs (stance): Members well apart, fine bone structure.
Wool: Long half-length fleece (wick of 5 to 7 cm finesse 3) of white color, stopping at the lower and hind limbs a few centimeters above the knee and hock. The wool should not cover the head.
During their first year, young people may have a short wool on their belly, hind limbs and possibly a forelock on their head, which disappears with age.
We are looking for animals with short and dense wool.
Mamelle (teats): The udder attachment is firm and does not allow it to be distended, despite a volume and significant weight in lactation. On a dried sheep, the reabsorbed udder must not be visible.
Males stand 70 – 80cm ~~~~ weigh 90 – 110kgs
Females stand 65 – 70cm ~~~ weigh 60 – 80kgs
Roussin’s were first imported into Britain in 1989 but they originate from the “de la Hague” region of France.
They are the result of crossbreeding breeds local to the ‘de la Hague’ region, with the addition of Dishley, Southdown and Suffolk blood. The local breeds in the 18th century populated the dunes and moors on the coast of Northern France. The English blood was introduced in about 1920, with the aim of improving the size and conformation of the local breeds.
In France the Roussin are grass fed sheep and do well in the oceanic climate of rain and wind in the ‘de la Hague’ region. They are known to cope well on poor ground and are easy to keep. They are naturally prolific.
In France great care has been taken in the development of the Roussin. Strict criteria have to be met, such as conformation, number of lambs born to a ewe, the milking ability of the dam and Daily Liveweight Gain of the lambs. Any lambs not meeting the exacting standards could not be registered for pedigree breeding. UPRA continues to inspect and evaluate the Roussin.
In 2003, a breeding center was set up to jointly manage selection for scrapie resistance and genetic variability of the breed. This dual objective has now been achieved, and the challenge it entailed has greatly contributed to mobilizing farmers in a collective approach that is both enthusiastic and rigorous. The breeding center still has to be an effective selection tool for zootechnical criteria. Today, thanks to this breeding center, breeders are working on a program to combat parasitism in connection with INRA.
(Text taken from )