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Norwegian Steigar sheep, (16)

Steigar sheepThe Steigar sheep is named after the  Steigen region in Nordland county in Norway. The breed originates from crossbreeding between the Norwegian Spael sheep and British breeds (Cheviot and Sutherland) in the years 1880-1930. Since then other imported breeds have also been crossed into the breed, such as Texel-, Finnsheep and East Friesian sheep.  The breed is used for production of meat and wool and is adapted to grazing on mountain pastures during the summer. The sheep are white with black nostrils and hooves and both rams and ewes are polled with long tails. The sheep grow uniform wool with mean fibre diameter of 37.4 micron and mean greasy fleece weight around 3.3 kg. The wool is used for making yarn, blankets, carpets, clothes and souvenirs.  Woolskins for clothing and nappa leather are made out of the pelts. Adult live weight is 110 kg for rams and 77 kg for ewes. The mean litter size is 1.8 lambs at birth and 1.4 weaned. Mean carcass weight of lambs is 18.3 kg when slaughtered at the age of 6 months. The largest proportion of the carcasses falls into grade O in the EUROP classification system.
The number of purebred Steigar sheep is decreasing because it is now (since 2001) a part of the combined breeding population of Norwegian white sheep together with the other long tailed sheep breeds, mostly Dala- and Rygja sheep. The number of breeding ewes is around 38,000 but only a part of them is bred pure.

Local name: Steigarsau
References: Mona G. Hollet, Norsk landbruksmuseum, Pb 5104, 1432 Ås Norway.
Photographs: Vera Gjersoe, Husdyrfoto, Voss.






List of North European sheep breeds:
Ålands sheep
Cheviot sheep
Dala sheep
Dala fur sheep
Danish landrace sheep
Estonian Ruhnu sheep
Faeroe sheep
Fine wool sheep Finnish Grey landrace

Forest sheep
Fuglestad sheep
Gotland sheep
Greenland sheep Grey Troender sheep
Gute sheep
Icelandic leader sheep
Icelandic sheep
Latvian darkheaded sheep
Lithuanian coarse wool sheep
Norwegian feral sheep  

Norwegian Old Spael sheep
Norwegian Spael sheep
Romanov sheep
Roslags sheep Russian Viena sheep
Rya sheep
Rygja sheep
-Steigar sheep
Texel sheep
White faced Marsh


Created by ThEP and EE Edited by Emma Eythorsdottir for the North SheD group.
Agricultural Research Institute of Iceland.