Domestic sheep (Ovis aries)


Figure 1: Domestic sheep

There are many breeds of domestic sheep. They differ in shape, size, color, and shape and size of horns (if they are present). Although domestic sheep are often kept for their wool, not all breeds have wooly coats.

Domestic sheep have a natural instinct to herd or flock. Sheep become distressed if they are separated from their herd. A flock of sheep has no leader, making it easy for a single shepherd to control large numbers of sheep.

Sheep generally graze on grass. They may also be fed hay and oats.

Domestic sheep live in varied habitats.

Animals that look similar:
Domestic sheep can resemble their wild counterparts, such as the bharal, or some variations of domestic goat. Domestic sheep often have woolier coats than domestic goats and generally lack the beard that characterizes male goats.

Images of sheep

These are images from our research cameras that CatCam visitors have identified as containing at least one sheep. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image


Reavill, C. 2000. “Ovis aries” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed July 26, 2012 at