Suffolks are found throughout the world’s sheep producing countries. In the United States, they are by far the most popular pure breed of sheep, accounting for more than fifty percent of purebred sheep registrations. In the British Isles, they are the leading terminal sire breed. The Suffolk breed originated almost 200 years ago on the rugged southeastern coast of England, the result of crossing Southdown rams and Norfolk Horn ewes. Originally, they were called Southdown Norfolks or just “Black faces.”
The first Suffolks were brought to the United States in 1888, but it wasn’t until after the second World War when the sheep industry moved towards a larger, meatier, open faced sheep that Suffolks gained in prominence. They are a large breed with a distinctive all-black head and legs that are free of wool. Suffolk lambs grow faster than any other breed and yield heavy, high cutability carcasses of the type demanded by today’s health conscience consumers.