The American
Jacob Sheep
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register the
Jacob Sheep.

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logoAmerican Jacob Sheep Registry


Description of the Jacob Sheep

The Jacob is a white sheep with black markings. These markings occur as both random spotting and as breed specific markings. Breed specific markings appears as black patches on the muzzle, around the eyes, as a cape over the neck and shoulders, and on the feet, knees, and hocks. Random spots occur throughout the fleeced area of the body and on the legs; but should not obscure the breed specific markings. While many breeders consider a black to white ration of 40:60 to be "ideal", there is a great deal of acceptable variation from this ratio.

Jacob sheep have both black and white wool. These different colored patches of wool should be clear and distinct in color. Some individual animals tend towards a grayish cast in their black wool. This color is frequently referred to as "lilac." The spots in a purebred Jacob should never fade to the point where they become obscured.

Body conformation of Jacob sheep is frequently described as "goat-like", with a small, fine-boned appearance. The ears are erect - never pendulous. The legs and face forward of the horns should be free of wool.

The Jacob is ALWAYS horned. There is no such thing as a polled purebred Jacob! This is one of the reasons that dehorning is prohibited. While it is preferred that the sheep have an even number of horns, well-spaced and attractive, animals with less-than-perfect horn patterns are perfectly normal and acceptable. Horns are always black or black and white striped; never all white.

Jacob sheep have one of the widest variation in fleece types of any breed. Although a wide variety of fleece types is acceptable in the breed, a good fleece is free from kemp, or nearly so; and of uniform crimp throughout. A quality soft fleece, which is ideal for handspinning, carries little grease. (Some Jacob fleeces are coarse and hairy, which renders them unsuitable for handspinning use.)

It is important to bear in mind that there's more to a Jacob than just spots and horns! Conformation and size are also very important in distinguishing a good Jacob sheep!

While "breed specific" markings help to identify an individual sheep as a Jacob, not all "breed specific" markings necessarily are present in one individual.

It is important to bear in mind that the "perfect sheep" does not exist. A responsible registry has the task of registering all acceptable candidates based on their breed purity, NOT on their relative closeness to any ideal of perfection! There are, however, some traits which are undeniable incorrect for the breed and seriously challenge the likely purity of the sheep or are so far outside of the norm for the breed that the individual is simply not acceptable.

Unacceptable Traits

Traits which may render an individual animal unacceptable for registration - regardless of his/her parentage - include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • All solid black legs

  • No horns, or scurs only; white horns
  • No black facial markings, or solid black face
  • Black in excess of 90% of total body area
  • Wooled face or legs
  • Oversize
  • Lack of adequate breed markings

It is recognized that on occasion registered parents may possibly throw a lamb that does not meet registration criteria. Such lambs will not be registerable. Registration of parents in no way guarantees registerability of non-conforming offspring. The parents will, however, retain their registration. This registry has no intention to withdraw papers once issued; however, it is urged that non-conforming animals not be retained for breeding, and that lines that tend to produce a number of such non-conforming offspring be culled.

©2006 American Jacob Sheep Registry. All Rights Reserved. Page updated 6/2012.

All photos are © by the owners. Further reproduction via any media is prohibited.