Breed Association NSIP Contact
and Data Coordinator
Dr. Dan Waldron
Texas A&M Research
and Extension Center
7787 US Highway 87 N
San Angelo, TX 76901
The Dual-purpose Breed
Rambouillets are large sized, rugged and long-lived with a strong flocking instinct. For many years, the Rambouillet has been known as the profit “cornerstone” of the U.S. sheep industry. They are raised in a range of climate conditions from the scarce brush area of Texas to the extreme cold winters of Minnesota. The ability of the Rambouillet to produce both meat and wool of high quality, with little feed and at a wide range of temperatures, are the key factors to maximizing breeders’ profits per acre. In this era of technology push, the producer must learn to minimize costs by increasing efficiency. The Rambouillet can attain this goal.
The ability of the Rambouillet to produce both meat and wool of high quality, with little feed and at a wide range of temperatures, are the key factors to maximizing breeders’ profits per acre.
The American Rambouillet Sheep Breeders Association was formed in 1889 to preserve dwindling numbers of pure Rambouillet. Today, the association is located in Levelland Texas and the registry has been out-sourced to Milo, Iowa. All pertinent past records have been moved to a climate controlled building on the campus of Angelo State University in San Angelo Texas.
The Rambouillet descends entirely from the Spanish Merino. In fact, it is the French version of the Merino developed when Louis XVI imported 386 Spanish Merinos in 1786 for his estate at Rambouillet. The strain assembled at Rambouillet remained unusually pure, however, even through the tumult of the French Revolution when their owner lost both the throne and his head. Parceled out to a handful of dedicated caretakers, the Rambouillet Merinos not only maintained their superior fine-wool characteristics but also developed a body size and confirmation seldom seen outside the mutton breeds.
Though named for the town in France, the breed owes much of its development to Germany and the United States. German breeders made extensive use of Rambouillet sires as the breed’s fame spread throughout Europe. A select group of American sheepmen attempted to emulate the small clique of Europeans who maintained pure Rambouillet stock. Many present day American Rambouillets can trace their ancestry back to either German von Homeyer flocks or the flocks of Rambouillet, France.