The Merino is a group of breeds of sheep characterised by very fine soft wool. It was established in Spain in the Middle Ages and was for several centuries kept as a strict Spanish monopoly. During the eighteenth century, flocks were sent to the courts of a number of European countries, including France (where they developed into the Rambouillet), Hungary, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The Merino subsequently spread to many parts of the world, including South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Numerous recognised breeds, strains and variants have developed from the original breed.
Suitable ages 3+ yrs