Breed

Swiss Black-Brown Mountain Sheep

Also known as Brun-Noir du Pays (BNP), Pecora giurassiana, Schwarzbraunes Bergschaf (SBS), Juraschaf.

Breed description

The Swiss Black-Brown Mountain sheep is polled, medium-sized, deep and broad. The coat colour is either black, chestnut coloured or light brown. Head and legs are clear of wool, covered with short black or brown hair. The head is well carried, the face is fine, long with straight profile and bright eyes. The ears are of medium length, horizontally placed and pointing slightly forward.

Special features

The Swiss Black-Brown Mountain sheep is docile, intelligent and easy to handle. It is very adaptable, thriving under a wide range of conditions and climates. This breed is the most fertile type of mountain sheep. As it is a non-seasonal breeder, the ewes quite often lamb twice a year and have 1,8 lambs in average per birth, thus making them an ideal mother race for crossings with meat producing rams. The ewes are excellent milkers and dedicated mothers. Swiss Black-Brown Mountain rams are hardworking and fertile.
For 1999 the statistics show 35 % singles, 53 % twins, 11 % triplets, 1 % quadruples and quintuples.Swiss Black-Brown Mountain lambs, both pure-bred or cross-bred kill out significantly better than for instance the Tyrolean Mountain sheep. The bone is light, with an excellent meat to bone ratio. The meat is rich in colour and of particularly good flavour and texture.

Wool

The fleece of the Swiss Black-Brown Mountain sheep is of single-colour (either black, chestnut or light brown), thick and close-cropped. Due to the Merino ancestry the wool is fine and strong and is remarkable for its strength and elasticity. No kemp or white fibres are allowed.

Fleece weight male 3,5 – 4 kg, female 3 – 3,5 kg.
Quality F2-3 bzw. B – C, staple length in 180 days 3 – 3,5 cm.

History

The Swiss Black-Brown Mountain Sheep originates from the ancient Swiss breeds Jura, Simmentaler, Saanen, Frutiger, Roux de Bagnes and Freiburger. Frutig sheep are already known from records of the 14th Century. Their coarse, mainly white wool was quite important for the home industry producing the famous Frutig cloth. In the beginning of the 19th Century Flemish Landrace sheep were crossed in and Spanish Black Merinos around 50 years later. Another ancestor, the Roux de Bagnes, was a small-framed, compact, easily satisfied and hardy hill breed. In 1941 the breed description Black-Brown Mountain sheep was created and the various breeds were made uniform. The mutual flock book for black and brown varieties dates from 1979. Today this breed is raised mainly in Switzerland ( Fribourg, Bern, Jura, Lucerne and Zurich).

In Austria the first flock of Swiss Black-Brown Mountain sheep was introduced under the name Jura sheep by the shepherds of Longo Maï, wandering 1977 all the way from the Bernish Jura to Carinthia.