The Hampshire is one of the Down breeds that originated in Hampshire County in England during the 18th century when Southdown rams were crossed with the local horn sheep. Fixed as a breed in 1889, it was exported to Canada at the turn of the century and since then has remained, with the Suffolk and the Dorset, one of the most consistently popular breeds in this country.
They are large stocky sheep, with excellent meat characteristics and high-yielding carcasses. They are extremely fast growing and serve both the light and heavy lamb market. The ewes are average in prolificacy, long-lived, easy keepers and adapt to either pasture or confinement management.
Rams used as terminal sires pass on the Hampshire loin and leg very consistently, but the lambs are large at birth and large ewes should be used. They are very docile, easy to manage and make an ideal small farm flock.