This delightfully well-mannered sheep originated in the counties of Shropshire and Staffordshire in western England. Many believe they developed from the crossbreeding of Southdowns, Leicesters, Cotswolds, and Longmynds, but whatever the case, the breed came to be known as Shropshire in 1848, and was officially recognized as such by the Royal Agricultural Society in 1859. Understandably enthused English Shropshire breeders congregated in 1882 to found the Shropshire Sheep Breeders' Association and Flock Book Society. It proved to be a landmark gathering, for it was the world's first formal sheep society. It remains active today, publishing a newsletter, Shrop Talk, as well as its annual Flock Book under the watchful eye of its president, Les Newman.
Today's Shropshire is a dual-purpose (meat and wool) breed, and as such enjoys popularity in many parts of the world, including England and the United States. They are resilient, able to withstand a variety of climates and pasture in assorted terrain. The unimpressed look on their faces lets you know there's little they haven't seen, though the resignation in their eyes dampens your spirit.