The Portland is a very pretty heathland breed from the Dorset area, linked to the Wessex tan-faced group of sheep. Portlands are relatively small – a typical ewe weighs 38-40kg. The body of a Portland is of a primitive type within the Downs breeds, with good width between the legs. The tail is long, the legs fine-boned and tan coloured The face is a tan colour, but may have lighter areas around the eyes and muzzle. The nose is dark. Some sheep carry a light covering of wool on the forehead, but the rest of the face is free from wool. Horns are light coloured; those of the ram are heavily spiralled; in ewes they curve through a half circle. There is often a black line in one or both horns. Lambs are born with a foxy red coat which changes in the first few months to creamy white. The wool is close and fine with a short staple.
The breed produces exceptionally high quality meat with fine texture and excellent flavour. The Portland can lamb at any time of year, but usually produces a single lamb.
Portlands are a new addition to our collection, and we will be lambing just two ewes in 2011. Our Portlands are registered in the RBST Combined Flock Book. For more information, visit www.portlandsheep.org.uk or www.rbst.org.uk