BREED STANDARD – Characteristic & Description

  • GENERAL CHARACTER & APPEARANCE – A medium sized, solid colored, luster longwool sheep with clean head and legs. Curious, bold and alert appearance with fine bone and good breadth and depth of body.
  • COLOR – Gray, white, black or brown fleece; solid color with shading allowed, no distinct patterns or spotting. Grey fleece color ranges from light silver to dark charcoal with head and legs generally solid black. Lamb birth coat is black, becoming gray within several months. Small white markings on head, legs and tail are accepted but discouraged; shall be less than 30% of those areas. (Light grey eye circles and muzzles are not white markings.)
  • SIZE – Medium size with substance. Ewes generally weigh from 120 to 155 lb. Rams are heavier weighing 165 to 190 lb at mature body weight. The ideal height range for mature Gotland ewes is 25.5″ to 30″; for mature Gotland rams is 29.5″ to 32″ at the withers. Plus or minus one inch (1″) in height is acceptable for either sex.
  • HEAD – Preferably solid colored head generally free from wool. Bold eyes, alert medium sized ears set slightly above horizontal. Small, neat and straight muzzle with even jaw and teeth set squarely on the pad. Both males and females are polled.
  • NECK & BODY – Slender neck and shoulders set smoothly into a level back with generous length, good depth and reasonable breadth of body. Well suited for market production.
  • TAIL – Naturally short, hair tipped tail measuring less than 6″ as measured at the underside. Generally broader at the base and tapering to the tip.
  • LEGS – Slender legs well spaced and upright. Preferably solid color and free from wool.
  • WOOL – Fleece is fine, long, lustrous and dense with clearly defined curl and staple; soft to the touch. It is typically 29 to 34 microns in diameter at 18 months of age, as measured midside at the last rib. Lamb’s wool is typically in the low to mid 20’s micron range.
Gotland Sheep-Spinning W Farm, WA
Gotland Sheep-Spinning W Farm, WA
Gotland lamb-VT Grand View Farm, VT
Gotland lamb-VT Grand View Farm, VT
Gotland Ewe-Namekagon Valley Farm, WI
Gotland Ewe-Namekagon Valley Farm, WI


DISQUALIFICATIONS – sheep exhibiting the following traits cannot be registered with GSBANA:

  • Long heavy tail, broad to end, or docked tail.
  • Uncharacteristic wool, double coated, dull or straight locks, indistinct lock formation, overly coarse or harsh wool.
  • Deformities of jaws.
  • Greatly undersized or oversized animals, or overly coarse or cloddy animals.
  • Distinct pattern or spotting in wool, spots in the fleece adjacent to the head or legs – are disqualifying in rams; discouraged in ewes. In ewes, these spots shall be smaller in area than the adjacent portion in the non-wooled area.
  • Horned animals. Small scur growth that is non-fatal is discouraged, but does not disqualify the animal.
  • Rams without two normally descended testicles of approximately equal size.
  • Any sheep judged to be generally unthrifty, unworthy, or unsound

Sheep submitted for GSBANA Registered status shall meet the breed standard set forth by GSBANA. Otherwise, worthy sheep who do not meet the GSBANA standard may be Recorded with the Association and used in breeding programs. This would include sheep with patterned fleece, sheep with atypical tails, horns or excessive white spots, but not sheep with jaw deformities, undescended testicles or other known genetic abnormalities.