The Valais Blacknose Sheep or Walliser Schwarznasen (as they are known in German) originates in the mountains of the Canton of Valais in Switzerland.
Although they are Bred in their homeland as a duel purpose sheep for their meat and wool, they are also very highly thought of by local farmers down to their laid back and friendly nature. They hold shows so that breed standard are kept high and it allows people to show off their beautiful sheep.
Since the re-introduction of the wolf in switzerland they are now endangered and with only a few thousand left in the world we are no longer able to bring new lines here into the Uk (only arriving here in 2014) from Switzerland.
The Ewes and Rams both have horns and are very similar to look at but there are a few differences that set them apart (including the obvious).
The Valais are a lot bigger than you might think.
The males can finish between 75-83cm to the wither and weigh up to 125kg.
The females can finish between 72-78cm to the wither and weigh between 70-90kg.
They have a broad head with a roman nose and lovely long floppy ears that are medium in length. They are long, straight and wide in their back, shoulders are also wide with a deep chest.
In the UK and Switzerland you should see that their tails have been docked to their hocks however in some countries this is forbidden.
When showing, their wool should have a staple length of 10cm (6 months growth), with a good crimp and well balanced.
Noses are black to the middle of their head and connect to there eye patches, there should be no break of white between the nose and eyes.
Ears are black and should not join the black on their eyes/face.
They have black spots on the knees and hocks which should not join their black boots that they have on both front and hind legs.
Females should have a black marking under the tail which is interrupted by the white tail.
Males should not have any markings under their tail.
Female imperfections are tolerated but when graded, points will be deducted.
No male imperfections are allowed, so therefore it is important to be extra vigilant when purchasing a ram.
Valais Blacknose Sheep need most of the normal routine sheep care,
with good pasture, access to shelter and forage they are quite happy.
Like any other sheep they live in flocks so other sheep will be required for company, regular feet trimming and worming along with standard vaccinations are necessary to keep your valais healthy.
Valais blacknose sheep need to be sheared twice a year, usually in February and again in August. When showing they need to have 10cm staple length, so plan ahead when it comes to shearing.
Valais are naturally an inquisitive sheep and thrive on interaction and fuss, you will often see our valais playing with the dogs or following us around, trying to get work done in their company is not very productive.