This breed of domestic sheep (Ovis aries) is derived from an isolated population of primitive sheep living in the wild on the island of Soay ( part of the archipelago of St Kilda of the north Scottish coast). They are considered the oldest and most primitive race of the domesticated sheep in Europe. The ancestors of Soay sheep have been domesticated since the Neolithic period. Their origin on Soay is not clearly explained but researchers believe they were left on the island by the Vikings.
Soay sheep breeds have a long soft fleece, a short tail and are smaller than the typical sheep of other races. They are, however, more compact and in silhouette, similar to the Mediterranean mouflon. Typical body weight 27-32 kg. Colours are usually dark brown or fawn. Wool sheep Soay was used for the production of tartan.
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