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Breed Study: Targhee

Targhee Sheep


Targhee are a large-framed sheep, excellent producers of both meat and wool, bred in the U.S. to be well suited to the open range of the American West. They are hornless with white faces, white wool, and heavy fleeces. They are great mothers and have a high percentage of twins. 

Wool Characteristics:

Microns: 22-25

Staple Length: 3-5 inches

Bradford Counts: 60s-62s

Colors: white

Targhee wool is classified as a fine wool, with a softness that can be comparable to merino, as well as strength, elasticity, and loft. It is both supple and airy, providing a good combination of softness and structure. Targhee wool dyes, spins, and felts beautifully.


In 1926, researchers at the Experimental Sheep Station in Dubois, Idaho set out to develop a sheep breed that would be ideally suited for the requirements of sheep ranchers in the Western United States.  This sheep would combine the most desirable wool qualities of softness and strength with a dual-purpose sheep that could survive and thrive in the range lands of the American west. Their first attempt resulted in the Columbia breed, but researchers believed that a sheep with even finer wool could be produced. The next attempt started with a foundation stock of Rambouillet, Lincoln, and Corriedale crossbred ewes that were bred back to Rambouillet Rams. The sheep were named Targhee after the National Forest in Idaho where the first flocks grazed in the summer months. 


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