Sweden is the native home of many of the North European Short-Tailed Sheep breeds. Named for their fluke shaped tail, they are proven to be good foragers and grazers and do well fending for themselves. Their adaptability and geographic range led to many genetically distinct breeds across specific areas of Sweden, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe. The Vikings brought their sheep everywhere they settled.
Gute sheep (Gutefår) and Gotland (Gotlandsfår) sheep are the breeds native to the island of Gotland. Both have soft gray fleece, with the Gotland sheep being most known for curls. Still today, these flocks are kept to both conserve the heritage breed and to improve the soft fine wool. You’ll find most of the sheepskins in this collection to have very soft gray wool, typical of these breeds.
In other parts of Sweden, the breeds found important positions in local culture. The fleece of Dala sheep (Dalapäls), for example, were used in making the parish costumes of Dalarnia. Rya sheep (Ryafår) were specially bred for the properties of the wool. The color variety of the fleece includes a range of light and dark brown with long fibers. The sheep were shorn, and Rya wool was specifically used for making carpets.
Today, the Swedish breeds are watched over by organizations like the Föreningen Svenska Allmogefårs, dedicated to the preservation of heritage sheep breeds. Scientific research is being done to study and document the genetic heritage of the Swedish sheep among the short-tailed breeds. The sheepskins for sale in our collection are part of this effort to maintain a healthy and economically viable future for these breeds and traditional Swedish agriculture.