The Bluefaced Leicester evolved from a breeding scheme, to develop the Longwool sheep in the 1700's, by Robert Bakewell. Originally known as the Dishly Leicester. The breed was developed over the next 200 years and became commonly known as the Hexham Leicester due to it's early concentration in the North of England.

Today it is known as the Bluefaced Leicester and is now the most popular crossing sire throughout the British isles. In 1963 the Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders Association was formed to encourage the breeding and maintain the purity of the Bluefaced Leicester sheep. A flock book was also established.

Today there are 1200 members with an average flock size of 20 ewes. The Bluefaced Leicester is regularly crossed with many of the native British breeds, particularly hill breeds such as Swaledale, Blackface, Welsh Mountain and Cheviot, to produce the Mule ewe. The term Mule sheep means any crossbred sired by a Bluefaced Leicester. The 'Mule ewe' now makes up almost half of the UK's crossbred ewe population.

breed record holder

The Sheep
Bluefaced Leicester sheep should have a broad muzzle, good mouth and a tendency towards a roman nose, bright alert eyes and long erect ears. The colour of the head skin should be dark blue showing through white hair; although a little brown is acceptable. There should be a good length of neck laid into broad shoulders with a good spring of rib and a long strong back with no weakness behind the shoulder. The hindquarters should be broad and deep, the legs well positioned and strong boned. It is important that the wool be tightly purled, fine and open cleanly to the skin.

Breed Development
The Association and its breeders have a long standing commitment to develop the breed and its offspring and to this end a Breed Development Scheme and a Sire Reference Scheme were set up. The Penglas flock is located at the Institute Of Rural Studies in Aberystwyth, Wales.

It is the nucleus flock for the Bluefaced Leicester association and has been central to on-going research focused on developing better breeding tools for use within the breed. The best contact for arranging a visit to the Penglas flock is Dewi Jones at Wris.

The Penglas Flock, which is owned and run by Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders Ltd was initiated by donations of ewes from members around the UK and has been used over the years to look at developments within the breed. In the past 5 years it has been used as the nucleus flock in the government funded Crossbred Ewe Project, which was setup to look at future development of the crossbred ewe in the UK.
Sire Reference Ram
1706/X1 2006
sire reference ram
Sire Reference Scheme
The Bluefaced Leicester Sire Reference Scheme is still going strong, with nine flocks recording and producing recorded rams for sale.

This year we are considering having a sale of recorded shearling rams so that people interested in purchasing high index rams will have the chance to buy rams at a specific sale with figures available for all sheep on offer. We are also hoping to produce estimated breeding values for wormresistance by recording faecal egg counts from lambs. This should be of value to the whole sheep industry if we can breed rams with high worm resistance for use on the hill flocks to produce the different types of mules.

Anyone interested in the Sire Reference Scheme or as Associate Members using semen from the reference sires we have available please contact - Jo Binns for further information - Tel: 01873 890395

The Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders' Association, Riverside View, Warwick Road, Carlisle CA1 2BS Charity Number: 252714
Tel: 01228 598022 / Fax: 01228 598021 / Email
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