Closing temporarily from Thursday 17th February

We're closing from Thursday 17th February 2022, last orders 5pm Wednesday 16th February.
Reopening with new stock in the coming months.

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Jacob Sheepskin

Jacobs are a rare breed, small horned sheep with a distinctive spotted fleece. They are a ‘heirloom’ breed, meaning that they have survived with little human selection and are descended from ancient old world sheep.

History of the Jacob breed
Jacob sheep originated in the Middle East and are believed to be the oldest breed in the world. They are mentioned in the Old Testament and take their name from the biblical figure Jacob.

The Moors brought them into Iberian from North Africa in the eighth century, and they were imported from Spain by the British gentry in the 1600s and 1700s.

With their splendid horns and distinct spotted fleeces, Jacob’s sheep were an ideal ornamental sheep to graze with deer in parklands surrounding castles and stately homes. The oldest known flock - imported in the 1750s - still graze at Charlecote Park in Warwickshire today.

Preservation of a rare breed
After the First World War, many flocks had disappeared and by the 1950s numbers of Jacob’s sheep were very low. However, some dedicated breeders and enthusiasts were determined to preserve the breed and formed the Jacob Sheep Society in 1969.

Today, flock numbers are healthier and they are no longer endangered, though they are still considered a rare breed that needs conserving. The demand for the beautiful fleeces as a by-product of sheep reared for meat and milk, help with the conservation efforts.

Fleece colour
The distinctive spotted markings are one of the most appealing qualities of a Jacob’s sheepskin. This colouration is known as ‘Pie bald’ - meaning a spotting pattern of large unpigmented, usually white, areas of hair with pigmented patches that are generally black or dark brown.

This alternating colour pattern is irregular and asymmetrical, making each fleece unique and full of character.

Fleece texture
The fleece of a Jacob is light, soft, springy and open. It’s also holds little lanolin and varies in crimp (waviness) and fineness. Unlike other sheep breeds that have a fine inner coat and longer outer coat, Jacob’s have no outer coat but medium grade fibres throughout.

A Jacob's fleece is considered strong, of medium softness and is naturally low in coarse (kemp) fibres. The fibres are very dense, making a Jacobs sheepskin feel luxuriously thick.

Best uses
With their spotty individuality, Jacob’s sheepskins are particularly popular as statement pieces to cover chairs or floors.

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