The Ouessant Breed

History of the Breed

The Isle of Ouessant, off the coast of Brittany, is swept by the full force of Atlantic weather, and its hardy sheep adapted to survive in all weathers on poor grazing.  

The Fleece

Ouessants may be Black, Brown or White, with some variation of these basic colours and have a thick fleece of long wool with a dense undercoat. 

Ouessant Sheep

Ouessant sheep are intelligent, inquisitive, and renowned for their character, hardiness and for their status as the smallest naturally occurring breed of sheep in the world.  


Ouessants - tiny sheep with huge characters - are the ideal choice for first-time sheep-keepers.  Their small size and friendly temperament make them very easy to handle. Many owners in the UK use them to keep the grass down in paddocks or orchards without the damage caused by larger animals. And their size also makes them suitable for smaller areas; subject to the quality of the grazing.


The Society maintains a register of all pedigree Ouessant sheep in the UK.  Members of the Society may advertise sheep for sale and hire in the online flock book and in the Marketplace section of this website.  The Society strongly recommends that prospective buyers use the Marketplace.  When buying elsewhere they are advised to check the vendor is a member of the Society and that the sheep is a registered Ouessant, with a valid registration certificate.  The latest ads are below - to see all ads





Society Codes of Conduct for the Marketplace

Only registered or birth-notified Ouessant sheep may be offfered for sale or hire.  

Sellers Should:

  • Include the OSS number, height and presence or absence of wattles for all sheep
  • Declare any known faults in breeding ability, conformation, temperament and ancestry.
  • Not knowingly sell line bred, or inbred, stock or related male/female pairs without declaring them as such.
  • Ensure the sheep is in good health, with all routine husbandry completed, and provide the purchaser with proper records of the sheep’s medical history and last worming and vaccination dates.
  • Provide a printed copy of the OSS Registration Certificate to accompany every sale of a registered sheep. Provide the OSS number of the sire when selling a ewe in lamb.
  • Notify as soon as possible the transfer of the sheep, and the details of the purchaser, in the online flock book or to the Registrar via email.
  • Be honest and truthful in all matters relating to the sheep being offered for sale.

Buyers Should:

  • Check the pedigree and kinship of sheep on their certificates or in the online flock book before buying.
  • Check the sheep’s conformation against the breed standard.
  • Check the health and condition of the sheep, as best you are able.
  • Ensure that each sheep is accompanied by a hard copy of its registration certificate, and that you receive details of its medical history.
  • Physically check the ear tag number of each sheep against the number recorded on the registration certificate and movement documentation.
  • Ensure that all sheep bought are transferred to your ownership in the OSS Flock Book.