The Guirra sheep is a domestic Spanish breed, mainly found in Spanish provinces along the Mediterranean coast (Alicante, Valencia, Castellón de la Plana).
They are known not only by the name Guirra but also the Levant Red and Sudat. The exact origins of the Guirra sheep is not yet known, though it is suggested that the breed was developed through crossing another local Spanish breed, the Manchega, with North African thin-tail breeds.
The Guirra breed is now officially protected in Spain and it is raised not only for meat and milk production but also for its wool.
Characteristics and Uses -
A small to medium sized sheep breed, the Guirra breed is widely known for the unique red tinge to their coat.
At birth, lambs are born a red-brown colour, though the wool on their fleeces lightens to a red/cream colour as they mature. This fleece covers the neck, trunk and parts of the legs of the Guirra breed. Their fleece never grows dense and is known to be quite greasy to touch. Guirra sheep have a dark, red pigmentation on their skin.
The breed are best known for this pigmentation, while they are also famed for the convex profile of their nose and forehead. They have medium-sized ears, which point horizontally from the side of their heads.
Although historically raised for meat, wool and milk production, they are primarily raised for their meat today. Producing young lambs for meat production is the most profitable side of Guirra sheep and they reach the ideal slaughter weight (20-25kgs) at three months old.
A very hardy and strong breed, Guirra sheep are quite adaptable and can cope with most climates. One unique, goat-like, trait of the breed is that they can reach for food up high, using two legs to balance on. As mentioned, the breed was once widely used for milk production purposes. This is due to the high quality of the milk, which is excellent for producing high-quality artisan cheeses.
Although not exactly rare, the Guirra sheep breed certainly is beautiful. We may not know where they came from, but we know where they are going to stay, their native Spain.
Picture Source - Farming Plan