How to Judge Sheep

Image by Judith Prins


Sheep need to have good condition with good feet to allow the sheep to walk long distances in some circumstances. Sheep need to survive in the harsh Australian conditions. Judges generally look for good length and width of the animal.

Ewes - Maternal

Ewes need to be healthy to be able to look after their lambs.  They lamb once per year and often have more than one lamb at a time.


Sheep are bred for two main purposes Meat or Wool and some breeds for both.
An example of a sheep bred for it’s wool is a Merino.  Poll Dorsets or White Suffolks are mainly bred for their meat.

Rams - Paternal

A Ram needs to structurally sound for breeding purposes.


Merino Sheep are judged on the brightness, whiteness, fineness and strength of their wool and characteristics such as horns set well apart, a long broad muzzle and large barrel.  Wool from a merino sheep is used for high end woollen garments and sporting attire.
Poll Dorset sheep are judged moslyt on their meat but judges will look also at their wool quality.
Characteristics such as body structure, strength of back legs, shoulder width and soundness.  Wool from a Poll Dorset would be used for carpeting and wool bedding. The sheep are scanned and weighed to assess their carcass.

The above judging criteria and comments have been provided for the purpose of education and do not represent the views, opinions or position of judges, officials or the RA&HS. Any resemblance to actual persons, competitors, or exhibits living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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