Are Icelandic and Shetlands the same breed? Whats the difference. Are shetlands the smallest sheep? Thanks for any info.
It is believed that they are descendants of sheep brought by Viking settlers over 1000 years ago.
Shetlands are believed to have evolved from the Northern European Short-tailed sheep, probably brought to the Shetland Islands about 1000 years ago by the Vikings. They are very similar to Icelandic sheep--a casual glance can hardly tell them apart other than by size, as Shetlands are smaller.
Shetlands and Icelandic sheep are very close in looks, most likely because they are have a common heritage. Shetlands are smaller and their fleeces are finer than icelandic fleeces; many people enjoy spinning shetland over icelandic, but icelandic makes a wonderful felting wool (I also like to spin it, but it does tend to be a bit on the coarse side.) But there are very distinct similarities making it very difficult to tell the difference, especially in lambs who have not yet reached maturity.The modern Icelandic Sheep is a direct descendant of the sheep brought to the island by the early Viking settlers, in the ninth and tenth century. It is of the North European Short Tailed type, related to such breeds as the Finnsheep, Romanov, Shetland,