The Navajo-Churro is a breed of sheep originating in Spain. It was introduced around the world during the Spanish conquest and is widely known for its hardiness and ability to adapt to extreme climates.
They were first introduced to North America during the 16th Century, with Spanish armies using the breed to feed their soldiers. This was when the Navajo were first introduced to the breed, during trading. Before long, the bred was a vital part of Navajo culture and their economy. They used the wool to make rugs, weavings and other items, sometimes dying them in colour.
The breed nearly was wiped out in the years to follow, though restoration of the breed came in the 1970’s. It is now considered an extremely rare breed, though is no longer at risk of extinction.
Usually, rams have four, fully developed horns, which makes them one of a small few breeds which hold this trait. A low-maintenance breed, they are also extremely disease resistant and are known for being very docile in nature. The breed is raised mainly for their wool, which consists of a protective topcoat and very soft undercoat.
They come in a variety of colours, such as: red, brown, white, black, and mixed. These colours can also change with age. They can also be found with varied colour patterns, and even hip spots or coloured patches on their eyes.
As mentioned, rams can have up to four horns. They can also have fused horns, with some ewes also found with horns. The horns of ram grow slowly, taking up to 5 years to fully develop. Horns often curl to the front upon maturation. Ewes usually have twins in every crop of lambs born.
The Churro Navajo was once deemed the saviour of the Navajo people, feeding them and keeping them warm in the process. Almost wiped out, thankfully the breed is still going strong!