These primitive sheep graze on the natural herbage of the island, taking 15-18 months to reach maturity. This results in a dark, lean meat with a slightly gamey flavour. They are very fine looking, brown in colour, with 2 or 4 horns.It is small in size (ewes weigh about 40 kg.) and characterized by its dark brown wool and clean face and legs and short tail. The wool is soft and also prized by weavers. The Manx Loaghtan is native to the Isle of Man and a descendent of the kinds of prehistoric short-tailed breeds found in isolated parts of northwest Europe. Descended from the primitive sheep once found throughout Scotland and the coastal islands of Britain. The breed has come close to extinction on a number of occasions, the first during the Industrial Revolution when the demand was for white fleece. The breed was saved by a John Caesar Bacon (a late 19th C/early 20th C owner of a large amount of land on the Isle of Man and a hobbiest breeder of the Manx sheep), but when he died in the early 20th century, they were again forgotten until by the 1950’s there were less than 100 sheep left. This time they were rescued by a Manx farmer, Jack Quine who gradually built up their numbers and exported some to be kept in the UK to preserve the linethe in the 1950’s. At the end of the 1980’s, George Steriopulos, a business man who had moved to the island 10 years previously realized that the best way to preserve the breed was to create a market for its meat and fleece. After a long battle with the Manx parliament (the Isle of Man is not governed by the UK, nor is it part of the EU) in 2001 he finally won his battle to market the meat as a distinct product. This required the setting up of a co-operative with which all must register to market the meat.