Welsh Hill Speckled Face

breed location map

This hardy hill breed has a white face, with a black muzzle as well as black markings around the eyes and ears, the facial markings conferring the genetic distinctiveness of the breed. The fleece is both fine and tight, with white legs below the skirtings, and black markings on front legs at the knee and on all feet. Rams can be horned or polled, but ewes are polled.


The Welsh Hill Speckled Face originated in the hills of central Wales, while during the last 30 years or so it has become popular over a wider area of upland Wales, where it has replaced older mountain breeds, particularly in North Wales.
General Information 

Photograph courtesy of the
British Wool Marketing Board

Average bodyweight of mature ewe: 50-55kg
Average bodyweight of mature ram: 60-70kg
Average carcass weight of purebred wether lamb: 14-17kg
Crossbred with Suffolk/Texel lamb carcass weight: 16-20kg
Charollais/Bluefaced Leicester crossbred lamb carcass weight: 17-22kg
Wool Characteristics
Average fleece weight: 1.5-2kg
Staple length average: 7-13cm
Bradford count: 50-56
Main uses: carpets, tweeds
Average Prolificacy
Hill flock: 125%
Lowland: 180%
 Main Uses of the Breed

These adaptable sheep can survive the harsh upland winters and thrive with minimal supplementary feeding, both then and at lambing, the purebred ewes making excellent mothers, lambing outside from mid-March to mid-April, however the breed also adapts well to lowland systems and conditions.

Ewe lambs are usually sent to overwinter on lowland farms for the first winter, and bred from in their first year, while the wethers provide a sweet hill carcase. Draft ewes are sold down the hill where they can be crossed with the Down and continue to produce lambs for three years or more; with the Bluefaced Leicester to produce the much sought after Welsh Mule, or crossed with a terminal sire for low ground lamb production.


 Shows and Sales

Autumn sales are held in the centre and north of Wales at Cefn Coch, Llanfair Caereinion, Llanidloes, Welshpool, Devil’s Bridge and Llanrwst.

Annual purebred ram sales are held at Llanidloes, Devil’s Bridge and Llanrwst.

 Society Details

Welsh Hill Speckled Face Sheep Society
Secretary: Mr R Griffiths
Tel: 01686 440279

Assistant Secretary: Mr M George, Morris Marshall & Poole, Bank House, Great Oak Street, Llanudloes, Powys, SY18 6BW
Tel: 01686 412567
Fax: 01686 413462

Breed Description compiled with help from The National Sheep Association


The Sheep Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee.
Company Number 4284999, Charity Number 1094514.
Registered office University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD, UK.