The Hog Island sheep is a feral breed, descended from sheep abandoned on Hog Island in the 1930s and ’40s.
It is believed that the breed was descended from the Merino breed, among others, possibly the Improved Leicester or other English breeds. The sheep is relatively small but tough and hardy.
The breed is preserved by various organizations because of its relevance to American history and its resemblance to historical American sheep. It also possesses some traits that have been somewhat lost in more modern breeds.