The Manx Loaghtan definitely registers as one of the World’s rarest sheep breeds, with only two remaining flocks on its native Isle of Man.
The breed is one of Northern Europe’s short-tailed breeds and descends from primitive sheep from Scotland and islands such as the Shetlands. The word Loaghtan means mouse-brown, describing their colour. They have dark brown wool, with no wool appearing on their dark brown faces or legs. They usually have four horns, although they can even have up to six! Their horns usually small on ewes, but much larger on males.
Meat and Wool:
The breed is primarily used for meat production and is considered a delicacy. The meat from this breed has even received EU recognition and protection under the Protected Designation of Origin scheme. In the 1950’s there were only 43 surviving members of the breed in existence, though today this has risen to over 1,500 registered females in the UK alone.
Their wool is used extensively by weavers and craft spinners, due to its deep brown colour and soft texture. It is used primarily to produce woolen and tweed clothing, whilst the colour is left unchanged. The wool from the Loaghtan has a high concentration lanolin wax, Lanolin being an ingredient used in some soaps.