Breed Association NSIP Contact
Dr. Dan Morrical
Sheep Specialist Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
Selected for Excellence!
Hampshires are a large breed, with black faces and legs and wool on the legs and head. Hampshire sheep have the genetic ability to efficiently convert forage into meat and fiber and are adaptable and productive in various geographic regions of the United States. Their fast growth rate and superior carcass merit make them a popular choice to sire crossbred market lambs.
For over a century, U.S. breeders have bred and selected Hampshires to fill specific sheep industry needs.
In 1889 the American Hampshire Down Sheep Association was also organized, now known as The American Hampshire Sheep Association. For over a century, U.S. breeders have bred and selected Hampshires to fill specific sheep industry needs.
The Hampshire sheep acquired its name from the agriculture country of Hampshire in Southern England where they were developed. The Hampshire Down evolved from the mingling of different strains of kindred blood from sheep in co-existence along the borders of Hampshire County. The Old Hampshire, Bershire Knot, Willshire Horn and Southdown sheep were believed by most writers to be the original breeds found in and along the borders of Hampshire County. Mr. John Twynam made a valuable contribution to the Hampshire Down through the use of an improved Cotswold ram and Mr. William Humphrey by the introduction of two of the largest and most outstanding Southdown rams. The sheep farmers in the district of Hampshire continued through selection to improve the Hampshire down which was considered far superior to any other sheep.
Hampshire sheep were reported in the US around 1840 although there were no records to indicate that any survived the Civil War. Around 1865 to 1870 Hampshire’s were again imported from England but the first authentic record of importation’s was made in 1879.