The North Country Cheviot is a breed that has been widely used in the north of England and Scotland for several centuries. They are independent sheep, strong willed, vigorous and very hardy in harsh climates and rough pasture. They are best suited to pasture-based systems where the management style is not intensive.
There is a keen demand for all classes of purebred North Cheviot stock – rams, ewes and lambs. North Country ewes, found on some of hardest ground in the U.K. are particularly kind mothers, easy to handle at lambing time, with few lambing problems. They produce quality lambs under the most rigorous and demanding conditions and are noted for their longevity.
And they’re very friendly – always ready to chat when you approach the pasture!
In 1791, Sir John Sinclair brought ewes from the Cheviot Hills near the English border to the counties of Caithness and Sutherland in north Scotland. He named these sheep “Cheviots” after the hill area where they originated. Another hill breed was introduced into the ranges of central Scotland (the Scottish Blackface) creating a definite separation between northern counties of Caithness and Sutherland and the border region in southern Scotland. Most authorities speculate that both English and Border Leicesters may have been introduced into the North Country Cheviots at this time. The result was a larger sheep that had a longer fleece, and one that matured earlier. The North Country is about twice the size of its southern relative.
The North Country Cheviot has a striking, alert look with erect ears. The head is brilliant white and woolly. The body is completely covered with wool and is long, deep and white. The Roman nose has black nostrils. The eyes have a black line around them. Both sexes are polled (hornless). The neck is short and strong. The legs are covered with short, white fiber. In general, the wool is fine, white and free from kemp. Wool grades from 50 to 56 count. Mature rams weigh above 225 lb (102 kg) and mature ewes weigh above 175 lb (79 kg).
Here is an interesting article on why North Country Cheviots are a good breed to start a flock with.