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.