The hardy Hebridean sheep is gaining a special place in British conservation grazing, as it manages with very little human intervention, including producing one or two lambs per year. As the name implies, these sheep originated off the west coast of Scotland. They are small hardy sheep, able to cope with almost any weather condition. In fact their fleece sheds water, allowing then to keep dry even in heavy rain. The Hebridean sheep is completely black but gradually gains grey hairs with age, the fleece may also be bleached brown by the sun. Fleeces vary considerably, some are soft and fine while others are more dense.
When intensive farming developed after 1945 Hebridean numbers fell and by 1973 these sheep were designated 'rare' by the Rare Breed Survival Trust. However, its success at conservation grazing means that it no longer needs preservation and is now listed as a native breed.