Alpine Rock Sheep are direct descendants of turf sheep, a breed that is extinct today. This breed was originally present in the Bavarian Alps, mainly in the Berchtesgaden zone. These animals perfectly adapt to the rigid conditions of the high mountains, thanks to their hard hooves, sure-footedness, incredibly hardiness, and good resistance to climate change.
Their breeding contributes to the conservation of the traditional landscapes of mountain pastures that are found in the highest regions where cows and other breeds of sheep do not go. Furthermore, with their presence these sheep compact the pasture’s soul and protect them from erosion.
The Alpine Rock Sheep is lean, ranging in size from small to medium, with roman shaped profile in the head and a slightly bent nasal bone. The ears protrude from the head and hang down slightly. The fleece is made up of all possible colors of wool, and these sheep should be sheared twice every year. The females are affectionate with their young and produce a good amount of milk. As they do not go into heat seasonally, and thanks to their high fertility levels, the females can give birth twice per year. The ram often has spiral horns, while the females only show the smallest idea of a horn.
This sheep is generally quite docile and can therefore be used for didactic projects. In an ideal breeding situation, the animals don’t tend to fatten and their meat is similar to that of wild animals, which is best expressed in the dish Pchelsteiner Entopf (a typical regional soup made with meat and vegetables).
In the alpine areas this breed has long produced enough wool and meat for the local farmers. In 1985 there were only a few heads left, which were used to create the herds that exist today. Since 1991, each breeder has kept a register with the characteristics of each head that is present in their herds. The majority of these animals are bred today in the breeders’ free time, in small herds. Alpine rock sheep are bred throughout the entire Alpine area, but particularly in the Berchtesgadener Land, in Bavaria.