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Leine Sheep

Extremely good conservationists and Vulnerable Farm Animal of the Year 2013
Breed Portrait


Leine sheep are an old regional breed in the German federal states of Thuringia and Lower Saxony. The breed is a robust and modest type of sheep. The 'original type' of Leine sheep originates from Rhenish sheep that were cross-bred with English dairy ewes in the 19th century in the Kingdom of Hanover. The breeding area was mainly along the valley of the Leine river, from which the breed’s name is derived. In 1937, there were 77,000 Leine sheep in Germany. For economic reasons, the population began to decline gradually in the second half of the 20th century. Therefore, the 'original type' was selected ‘Vulnerable Farm Animal of the Year 2013' by the German Society for the Preservation of Rare Breeds (GEH e.V.) and is now considered extremely endangered.

Survived in Exile


From 1954 to 1960 about 1500 Leine sheep were brought to Poland in the context of war reparations and compensation. The original pedigree remained there until the millennium. Today's breeding stock of the 'original type', which includes about 1600 ewes and 45 rams, comes from the re-importation until 2012 of the existing state breeding flock in Cerkwica (Poland). A total of 30 breeding rams and 70 female animals were re-imported to Saxony and Thuringia between 1993 and 1999. Today’s breeding flocks have been rebuilt from these animals.

Leine Sheep in Plottendorf


In the course of the extensification of the management of the wetlands in Plottendorf, which is connected with the aim of increasing the grassland’s biodiversity, we support conservationary breeding, and thus the receipt of this old regional sheep breed in Thuringia.

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