Border Leicester sheep with long, lustrous wool have been in Leicestershire, England since the earliest recorded history of the British Isles and are responsible for the improvement and development of other longwool breeds. The English Leicester is said to have been introduced into the United States by George Washington, who kept a small purebred flock of Leicesters and used the rams extensively in his flock of 800 head at Mount Vernon.

Border Leicesters are moderately prolific, good milkers, and mothers. They have been used throughout the world to sire crossbred females. They yield a long-stapled, lustrous, coarse wool that is much in demand by hand spinners.