Meet Our Teeswater Sheep

Teeswater History- UK

After the Romans had invaded Britain, they brought with them a large longwool breed of sheep, which developed over the centuries into slightly different types of sheep named mainly from the area in which they had developed, i.e Cotswolds, Lincoln, Leicester & Devon Long wools and presumably the Teeswater, and these would all originally have had a white face. As the poorer land further up the valleys was grazed by sheep, the Teeswater was used in these dales for crossing purposes on to the smaller hill sheep to produce a cross bred sheep suitable for fat lamb production on the more fertile land. Some farmers referred to them as "Mug Tups" because of their facial colour. There are records of Teeswaters being exported to Tasmania in the early 1800's. Also around this time Robert Bakewell started a breeding program to develop and enhance the quality of the local sheep, which were Leicester Longwools. In the 1840's some Teeswater females were crossed with a Dishley Leicester Longwool ram called Bluecap and the offspring were the origins of the Wensleydale breed, as it had a bigger and better body shape, it would appear, that eventually the Wensleydale breed became more popular and the Teeswater declined until by the 1920's the breed was nearly extinct.

 American Teeswaters US vs the UK:

The US Teeswater Breeders have been upgrading the breed with Semen from the UK since 1999. Started with Roy and Myrtle Dow along with Barbara Burrows,. Doc Gorley had Teeswater semen from the UK and asked if they wanted to start a new breed, the Teeswater breed. The breed in the UK upgrades with Cotswold and English leisters, several of those breeds were used along with others. I started with 5 ewes I bought from Roy and Mytle Dow in 2005 that is when I did my first A I of sheep. I was a spinner and a weaver I took the breed to heart . I researched for the way to improve the breed. I wrote to the English Teeswater breeders and looked at pictures on line, compared them to my sheep. Contacted UK breeders to see how close to the breed the sheep were looking. I ordered in samples of wool from the UK. The UK samples were Hogget (12 to 16 mo. growth) I ordered fleece from 2 and 5 year old sheep. I did this to make sure I was moving in the right direction with the my Teeswater line of sheep. The breed was taking off with the spinners. I posted everywhere I could about the breed. I started my own flock’s Facebook page -Teeswater Sheep Columbus, WI. The spinners were using the locks to tailspin and make all types of Art yarns. The main thing is I have sheep that are keeping the Teeswaters look Black noses, feet, and ears. It is tough to get that look , it has taken me 10 years to perfect my flock. I am happy to say the my fleeces are growing 1” a month. I contacted the UK in 2013 to come to the USA and recognize the American Teeswaters into their Breed Association. I created history! Never have any USA sheep been accepted into the UK Associations. I had Darrell Pilkington come and judge the Teeswaters in 2014. This lead too one of my ewes “Stacie” take “Best in Show”. Darrell evaluated my flock and 6 were recognized into the UK Teeswater Breed Association in 2015 along with 3 other sheep from two other US Breeders Barbara Burrows and Virginia Scholomiti. 

US Teeswaters: 

Head - Good broad, Clean head with well developed jaw. Long brown or black nose. Short broad teeth meeting the pad. Low set ears and bright eyes with plenty of width.

Carcass - Long drawn with plenty of width, deep ribs and good hindquarters.

Legs -  Straight and well apart with plenty of bone. Up on the pasterns with sound feet.

Color - broken white and brown or black

Wool - Good, clean open lustrous staple, not too strong and of medium length, with no black fibers. Uniform over the whole fleece. This should be fine, longstapled lustrous wool, with no dark fibers in the fleece.