Romney sheep are originally from England, where they were officially recognised as a breed by 1800. As the name suggests, they developed in the Romney Marsh area around Kent and East Sussex. Due to its rich pastures, this area became the ideal grazing site for breeders who wanted to fatten their sheep for the market.
Romney sheep were exported internationally as early as 1853, when a shipment was sent to New Zealand. Today, the breed is distributed throughout England, New Zealand, Australia, Patagonia, Canada, Brazil, Portugal and the United States.
Romney sheep have long wool and medium to large sized frames. They produce a heavy fleece and rams can yield 75-70 percent, in excess of 10 kilograms per annum. Their high average fibre diameter means their wool is ideally suited to carpeting and other rugged uses.
The breed is known for its high fertility, regular twinning, and maternal behaviour. In cross-breeding programs, Romney sheep produce an ideal prime lamb or prime lamb mother. They are also known to perform well in high rainfall areas.
The Romney first arrived in Australia in 1872.