Australian Merino

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Australian Merino


a breed of fine-wooled sheep raised in Australia. Originally developed from Merino sheep brought in the 18th century from England, Spain, and Germany, Australian merinos were later used for crossing with the French Rambouillet and American Vermonts. As a result, several types of fine-wooled sheep were developed which have substantial differences in appearance and wool quality.

The fine type are sheep without body folds and with very fine wool, of 70 quality and higher. Their liveweight is around 70 kg for rams and 35–40 kg for ewes. They are found in regions with relatively low temperatures and heavy precipitation.

The medium type (pepins and nonpepins) are sheep with two or three body folds. Their wool is 66–64 quality and their liveweight is 75–85 kg for rams and 40–44 kg for ewes. They are raised on dry, fertile plains.

The strong type are the largest sheep. Their wool is 58–60 quality. Their liveweight is 80–95 kg for rams and 42–48 kg for ewes.

The wool clip from Australian Merino rams is usually 9 or 10 kg and can be as high as 20 kg; for ewes it is 4 or 5 kg and can be as high as 10 kg. High wool qualities are common to all types of the breed. In Australia, Merinos make up 80 percent of the total number of head. Australian Merinos are used in many nations for upgrading local breeds. In the USSR, the Australian Merino has been used in developing the Groznyi breed.


Ivanov, M. F. Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 4. Moscow, 1964. Pages 244–46.
Rukovodstvo po razvedeniiu zhivotnykh, vol. 3, book 2. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from German.)
Esaulov, P. A. Metody povysheniia produktivnosti ovets v Avstralii. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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