Finnsheep evolved in Finland, as the name suggests. They are thought to be the descendants of the wild mouflon of Sardinia and Corsica. It is likely that other Scandinavian short tail sheep have influenced their evolution too.
Finnsheep are known to have high fertility and fecundity. They exhibit an extended breeding season compared to other breeds. They are considered to be extremely productive as cross-bred ewes. It is not uncommon for Finnsheep to begin mating at 4 months of age, and they can achieve lambing rates of 200 percent Longwool Finnsheep are particularly suited to cross-breeding programs with Merino and other sheep breeds. They can enhance lambing attributes and milkiness. Finnsheep are also recognised for their rapid growth rates, some reaching 95 kilograms at just 11 months old.
Mature Finnsheep rams typically weigh between 68-90 kilograms, while ewes generally weigh between 55-86 kilograms. Mature ewes can produce up to 3.6 kilograms of fleece, with a high yield percentage. Their wool measures between 23 and 32 microns, with a staple length of up to 15cm sometimes. It is recognised as being soft, white and lustrous with a well-defined crimp
Ewes are known to produce lean meat due to low subcutaneous fat.
Finnsheep first arrived in Australia in the 1980's when the University of New South Wales imported semen from North America. The semen was mainly used on Border Leicester and Merino ewes. However, Finnsheep flocks in Australia have been mostly influenced by the Finnsheep that had been imported to New Zealand in 1986 whose progeny was later released to the Australian market in 1993. The Australian Finnsheep Breeders Association was established in 1993 and is the official governing body for Finnsheep breeders around Australia.