Wool Breeds

This list grew out of a handout I received from Joanne Nissen, the person in charge of the Monterey Wool Show.

I sorted the table by wool grade as opposed to something more prosaic (like alphabetical). As you work your way down the list, the fleeces get coarser.

If you are selecting wool to use in a rug, look toward the bottom of the list. If you are selecting wool to wear next to the skin, look toward the top of the list. Unless the garment is for someone you really don't care for.

Breed Old Blood Grade(1) Numerical Count Grade(2) Micron Systems(3) Crimps per Inch Avg. Wool Length (4) in inches Avg. Lbs. Sheared (5) Yield (6)
Delaine Merino Fine Blood 80's - 64's Under 22.04 Microns 14 - 30 2.5 - 4

Merino Fine Blood 80's - 64's 20.00 to 22.00 Microns
2.75 - 3 10 - 12
Cormo 3/4 Blood 80's - 64's
12 - 19 3 - 5 10 - 12
Rambouillet 1/2 to Fine Blood 80's - 60's 18.50 to 24.50 Microns 12 - 18 2 - 4 8 - 18 35 - 55%
California Varigated Mutant 1/2 Blood 64's - 60's 21.00 to 25.00 Microns
4 - 6 8 - 12 50 - 55%
Targhee 1/2 - 3/8 Blood 64's - 58's 21.00 to 25.00 Microns 10 - 15 3 - 5 10 - 14 50 - 55%
Pollwarth 1/2 Blood 64's - 60's 22.00 to 25.00 Microns
4 - 6 8 - 12
Romeldale 1/2 Blood 62's - 60's 24.94 to 27.84 Microns
3.5 - 4 10 - 12
Poly Pay 1/2 Blood 60's - ?'s

3 - 4 8
Bluefaced Leicester 3/8 Blood 60's - 56's 22.05 to 24.95 Microns
3.5 -6 2.5 - 4 40 - 55%
Southdown 3/8 Blood 60's - 54's 23.50 to 29.00 Microns
1.5 - 2.5 5 - 8 40 - 55%
Columbia 1/4 - 1/2 Blood 60's - 50's 24.94 to 31.00 Microns 8 - 11 3 - 5 10 - 16 45 - 55%
Finish Landrace (Finns) 1/4 - 1/2 Blood 60's - 50's 31.00 to 23.50 Microns
3 - 6 4 - 8 50 - 62%
Shetland 1/4 - 1/2 Blood 60's - 50's 20.00 to 25.00 Microns
2.5 - 4 2 - 4
Shropshire 3/8 Blood 60's - 48's 24.50 to 32.50 Microns
2.5 - 4 6 - 10 50 - 70%
Corriedale 1/4 - 1/2 Blood 58's - 56's 24.50 to 31.50 Microns 8 - 11 3 - 3.5 10 - 18 50 - 60%
Dorset 3/8 Blood 58's - 50's 27.00 to 33.00 Microns
2.5 - 4 5 - 9 50 - 70%
Montadale 3/8 Blood 58's - 48's 25.00 to 32.00 Microns
3.25 - 4.5 8 - 12 45 - 60%
Suffolk 3/8 Blood 58's - 48's 25.50 to 33.00 Microns
2.5 - 3 5 - 8 50 - 62%
Hampshire 1/4 - 3/8 Blood 58's - 46's 25.00 to 33.00 Microns
2.5 - 3.5 6 - 10 50 - 62%
Clun Forest 1/4 - 3/8 Blood 58's - 48's

2.25 - 3 7 - 8
Cheviot 1/4 Blood 58's - 46's 27.00 to 33.00 Microns
2.5 - 4 5 - 9 50 - 70%
Dorset 1/4 Blood 58's - 46's

3 - 4 6 - 8
Texel Low 1/4 Blood 56's - 46's 27.00 to 33.00 Microns
3 - 6 9 - 12
Romney Braid to Low 1/4 Blood 50's - 44's 31.00 to 38.00 Microns 2 - 6 3 - 5 8 - 12 65 - 80%
Oxford 1/4 - 3/8 Blood 50's - 46's 30.00 to 34.50 Microns
3 - 5 8 - 12 50 - 62%
Coopworth Common 48's - 44's 30.00 to 35.0 Microns
8 - 10 10 - 12
Border Leicester Braid to Low 1/4 Blood 46's - 44's 30.00 to 38.5 Microns 1 - 6 5 - 10 8 -12 65 - 80%
Lincoln Braid to Low 1/4 Blood 46's - 36's 33.50 to 41.00 Microns 1 - 6 8 - 15 12 - 20 65 - 80%
Cotswald Common Braid Blood 44's - 36's 36.20 to 40.20 Microns 1 - 4 9 - 10 12 - 16
Scottish Blackface Common Braid Blood 44's - 36's
1 - 1/2 8 - 12 4 - 6
Karakul Common Braid Blood 44's - 36's
1 - 1/2 8 - 12 4 - 6

  1. The blood system was originally based on the percentage of Merino in a sheep's ancestry. It includes six market grades. Currently, the names refer to the diameter of the fiber. With this standard, "fine" refers to the diameter of the fiber, not the quality of the wool.
  2. The numerical count system divides the wool into 14 grades, designated by a number. This originated in the 18th century in England and is based on the number of 560-yard skeins that can be produced from one pound of clean wool top.
  3. Frustration with the blood and count systems led to a more objective system. A micron is 1/25,400 of an inch.
  4. These are the average length of fleeces from a twelve-month ewe clip under range conditions.
  5. These are shearing weight averages for ewes with a twelve-month clip, under normal range conditions. Rams will have heavier Fleece weights.
  6. The amount of scoured wool obtained from a fleece.

If you have comments, please send email to: Rosemary Brock.

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