Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science
Breeds of Livestock - Skudde Sheep
Source: The Skudde is a nordic, short-tailed heather sheep. Its original homeland was East Prussia and the Baltic States. Today a few small herds can be found in these areas.
Features: The most noticeable feature of the Skudde buck is the imposing snail horn. The ewes are hornless or carry horn stumps. In individual cases it occurs that ewes carry chamois-like “hornlets.” The animals are slender, the weight of the bucks lies between 35 and 50 kg, that of the ewes from 25 to 40 kg. The wool mixture typical of this breed consists of fine wool fibers, dispersed with short hairs and course cover hair. The colors are white, brown, black and gray. White Skuddes have nowadays small pigment spots on the head. Lambs have a rust-colored marking in the nape of the neck and on the legs. This coloring disappears in adults.
Performance: Skuddes are not kept for their meat. They are suited for pasturing more barren areas. The meat is held to be a delicacy in circles of connoisseures. Skuddes come into heat aseasonally. Lambs are born at any time of the year. As a rule three lambings are possible in two years.
Breeding Organization and Goals: The Alliance of Swiss Skudde Breeders has set as its goal to maintain Skuddes in their original form and not to breed in any other types so that the valuable characteristics of the Skudde are not lost.
Endangerment and Distribution: The current stock amounts to approx. 1000 animals in Germany, approx. 150 animals in Austria and approx. 250 animals in Switzerland. These stocks can be traced back to a few individuals. We have a few diligent breeders to thank that this breed still exists today.
Prospects: In the future the health of the progeny must be devoted more attention (in-breeding problems). The Alliance of Swiss Skudde Breeders is decidedly against crossing outside breeds with the Skudde. Since the Skudde population in Switzerland is increasing in size and the type is held to be secured, the Skuddes here (in Switzerland) can also be selected carefully according to typical breed features.
Endangered Domestic Animal Breeds 1995, Pro Specie Rara, Engelgasse 12a, CH-9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland, Telefon xx41/(0)71/222 74 20, Fax xx41/(0)71/223 74 01. German Translation provided by John te Velde, Associate Professor of German, Oklahoma State University