The Cotswold is a long wool sheep breed developed on the Cotswold Hills in the west of England. Sheep have been known in that region since the time of the Roman conquest 2,000 years ago, and the Cotswold breed may descend in part from the white sheep brought to England by the Romans.
Cotswold fleece is quite distinguished and unique among the different types of wool because it hangs in long lustrous locks that have a silky sheen. Cotswold fleece has a staple length of ten to thirteen inches.
Cotswold sheep are large framed in body. Mature sheep weigh between 200 to 300 pounds. Cotswold are efficient grazers that require decent forage but they are weather hardy, easy keepers in every way. Cotswold sheep are known for having very docile dispositions. The ewes are excellent mothers, but singleton lambs are common. The breeds name reflects the traditional habitat of Cotswold sheep: “cots” for the cotes or small sheep folds where they were the sheep were sheltered at night on the "wold," a hilly treeless land.
Cotswold sheep have the status of being a rare sheep breed. Cotswold are listed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as a threatened or endangered breed if sheep because there are fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in North America, and their global population is estimated below 5,000.