The Corriedale is a New Zealand breed of sheep. It was bred from about 1882 in the South Island by James Little, who cross-bred Merino and Lincoln Longwool sheep. The breed was officially recognised in 1911. It has been exported to Australia and to many countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America. In 2021 it was reported from twenty-five countries, and the total population was estimated at just over 5 million.[4]: 789 [3]

7287 Canterbury Agricultural College farm (cropped).jpg
Ram, Canterbury Agricultural College, winner of Best Corriedale Ram Hogget at the 1947 Christchurch Show
Conservation status
Country of originNew Zealand
Distribution25 countries[3]
  • Male:
    85–105 kg[4]: 789 
  • Female:
    65–75 kg[4]: 789 
Face colourwhite
Horn statuspolled


Corriedale sheep on a ranch in Charlo, Mission Valley, Montana

The Corriedale was developed in the latter part of the nineteenth century by cross-breeding Merino and Lincoln Longwool sheep,[5] with the aim of producing sheep with grazing requirements intermediate between the lush lowlands which suited the British breeds and the sparse dry grazing preferred by the Merino.[4]: 789 

The first to attempt this was James Little, who had come to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 1863, and had previously tried to cross-breed Merinos with British Romney stock. At the Corriedale estate in North Otago, where he was manager, he then attempted to produce a Lincoln-Merino cross, but the results were unsatisfactory.[6]: 25 [7] At about the same time William Davidson, manager of The Levels, an estate in South Canterbury, began similar work using Lincoln rams on medium-wool Merino ewes; the resulting sheep became the foundation stock for the Corriedale breed.[6]: 25 

In the following decade two Australian breeders – Corbett of Victoria in 1882, and MacKinnon in Tasmania in 1888 – also did work with the same aim.[6]: 25  In both Australia and New Zealand there was some admixture of Romney (for better conformation) and Border Leicester (for better rate of growth). Stock from The Levels was imported to Australia from 1911.[6]: 25 

In New Zealand the Corriedale could from 1903 be registered as an "Inbred Half-Bred" in an appendix to the flock-book of the New Zealand Sheepbreeders' Association. A breed association was formed in 1910, and in 1911 the name "Corriedale" was officially recognised; the first flock-book for the breed was published in 1924.[4]: 789  In Australia a flock-book was established in 1922.[6]: 25 

Within a few years the Corriedale was exported a number of countries, and breeders' associations were established many of them, including some European and South American countries, South Africa and the United States of America.[4]: 789  It became one of the most numerous sheep breeds worldwide. In Uruguay in 1970 the population was estimated at about 8.5 million, or about half the national herd.[8]: 80  In 2021 Uruguay reported about 2.75 million head, while Chile and Peru each reported well over a million.[3] In 2016 the number in New Zealand was estimated to be over 3 million.[4]: 789  Polwarth and Corriedale are the principal sheep breeds reared on the Falkland Islands.[9]

The Broomfield Corriedale was selectively bred from the original Corriedale stock for greater resistance to foot-rot.[4]: 772  Among the breeds that derive in part from the Corriedale are: the Borderdale of New Zealand (Corriedale x Border Leicester);[4]: 767  the China Semi-Finewool (Corriedale x Mongolian);[4]: 874  the Corino of Argentina (Corriedale x Merino); the Cormo of Tasmania (Corriedale x Tasmanian Merino); the Cormo Argentino, developed in Argentina from the Cormo;[4]: 789  the Australian Gromark (Corriedale x Border Leicester);[4]: 767  the Linchuan of Jiangxi Province, China (Corriedale/Romney x local finewools);[4]: 848  the Australian Siromeat;[4]: 789  the American Targhee; [4]: 930  the Warhill of Arizona, USA, and the Argentinian Junin derived from it.[4]: 944 

Corriedale and Ryeland were used to transmit the polled gene in the development of the Australian Poll Dorset.[4]: 800 

A number of breeds have "Corriedale" or "Koridel" in the breed name, but are not directly derived from the original stock; rather, they have been developed using a similar pattern of cross-breeding. Among these are the Askanian Corriedale of Ukraine, cross-bred from British longwool sheep and local Askanian stock; the Bond or Commercial Corriedale, bred in Australia from about 1909; the Canadian Corriedale; the Kazakh Corriedale, bred in Kazakhstan from the Kazakh Finewool and British longwool stock; The Armenian Koridel; the North Caucasus Mutton-Wool, derived from crosses between the Stavropol and the Lincoln Longwool; the Polish Corriedale; the Poznań Corriedale; the Soviet Mutton-Wool or Mountain Koridel; and the Tyan Shan.[4]: 789 [6]: 26 


The Corriedale has a long life span and is hardy and evenly balanced all over the body. Corriedales are docile, easy care mothers, with high fertility. They adapt well to a wide range of climate conditions. They are large framed and plain bodied, polled (hornless) and have a broad body.


Ewe fleeces weigh some 5–7 kg, with a staple length of 150–180 mm and a fibre diameter of 25–32 μm, Bradford count 56/50s.[6]: 13 


  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, Dafydd Pilling (editors) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Archived 23 June 2020.
  2. ^ Breed data sheet: Corriedale / New Zealand (Sheep). Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed November 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Transboundary breed: Corriedale. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed November 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Valerie Porter, Lawrence Alderson, Stephen J.G. Hall, D. Phillip Sponenberg (2016). Mason's World Encyclopedia of Livestock Breeds and Breeding (sixth edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 9781780647944.
  5. ^ Breed Information. Australian Corriedale Association. Archived 23 October 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g David Cottle (2010). International Sheep and Wool Handbook. Nottigham: Nottingham University Press. ISBN 9781904761860.
  7. ^ Corriedale: Origin and History. New Zealand Sheepbreeders' Association. Archived 8 March 2009.
  8. ^ G.L Tomes, D.E. Robertson, R.J. Lightfoot (editors) (1979). Sheep Breeding. London: Butterworths. ISBN 9780408106337.
  9. ^ "Agriculture - Falkland Islands Government". Retrieved 26 February 2019.

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