The South Suffolk was developed using a Suffolk-Southdown cross. They were developed in New Zealand in 1929. George Gould, the pioneer breeder, sought to combine the lean carcase of the Suffolk with the finely-textured meat of the Southdown. It wasn't until 1940 that it was recognised as a breed by the New Zealand Sheep Breeders Association.
South Suffolk sheep are a polled breed and they are bred primarily to serve as a sire over straight and cross breeds. The main reason for this is because they help perpetuate fast-growing prime lambs. The breed is known for its high fertility, easy lambing, early maturity and ram libido. Lambing rates are typically between 130 percent and 160 percent.
Their wool is short and fine and measures between 24 and 26 microns with a staple length between 75 and 100mm.Their wool is suitable for knitting yarns and apparel. Mature rams generally weigh between 90 and 140 kilograms, while mature ewes reach weights between 70 and 100 kilograms.
South Suffolk sheep first arrived in Australia in 1946 and by 1959 eight Australian studs were registered. The Australian South Suffolk Breeders Society was established in 1958 and later amalgamated with the Australian Society of Breeders of British Sheep in 1972. Today, they are distributed throughout most states in Australia including Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.