Navajo Churro Sheep


America’s first domestic sheep were small, rugged Churra sheep from Spain who were brought over in the 16th century to feed and clothe the Conquistadores and Spanish settlers. The sheep found their way into the hands of Native Americans through raids and trading. Within a century herding and weaving had become a major economic asset fo the Navajo. Selection for fleece character and the challenging climate of the arid Southwest forged the Navajo Churro breed.

In the 1860’s the Navajo Churro population was nearly destroyed as part of the U.S. Government’s efforts to subjugate the Navajo people. Attempts to control rangeland erosion led to further slaughter of the flocks until by the mid 1930’s only about 450 remained. An effort was made to protect the breed from extinction, especially among the traditional herders and weavers of the Southwest and the population now numbers around 6,000.

Highland Cattle and Sheep 2012 January Jan Horse Pics and Hig 035

Navajo Churros have a double coated fleece. The fine, soft inner coat provides insulation and the long, coarse outer coat protects the inner coat from dust and dirt while repelling rain and snow. The fleece is admired by collectors of textiles for its luster, silky hand, variety of natural color and durability.

The flavor of the meat is incomparably superior; it has a distinctive sweet taste with a surprisingly low fat content. Guests at our Wyoming ranch appreciate the fine lamb we serve and we use some of the skins for seat savers and saddle blankets.

Please ask about wool roving for sale.