Oxford sheep were developed in England in the 1830's and are the product of a mixture between Cotswold, Hampshire and Southdown blood. Subsequent to the stabilisation of the breed, Oxford sheep were highly popular, producing suitable sheep for mutton and wool markets. The advent of their success saw large numbers exported to the United States, Canada, Germany, Russia, Argentina and Denmark.
Oxford sheep are a polled, large-bodied breed, with mature ewes typically weighing up to 90 kilograms, and mature rams reaching weights of 140 kilograms. Oxford sheep are predominantly bred as sires for prime lamb production. They have the capacity to sire successfully with early maturing lambs and large, heavy lambs. They also have the ability to produce 18-22 kilogram carcases at 12-16 weeks. They are ideal in cross-breeding projects that aim to augment weight and size in lambs.
Oxford meat is considered to be extremely flavoursome and they are suited to the home freezer market. Their fleece is short, with light brown wool covering the legs and face. Oxford sheep record the heaviest fleece among the down breeds. Mature ewes can produce fleece to weights of up to 5.4 kilograms, measuring between 30 and 34.5 microns. The staple length varies between 7.6cm and 13cm, yielding around 60 percent.