Valais Blacknose

Valais Blacknose are called the “cutest sheep in the world.” And right now, they’re the hottest ticket in the sheep world.

The Valais is an ancient breed that originated in the Swiss Alps, where for centuries it was used for meat and wool. Historically few in number, in the past decade, the animals’ adorable looks have propelled them into prominence. And now they’re proliferating, purely as a pet.

The breed has spread to Europe, the UK, and the US, and this year the first Valais reached New Zealand and Australia.

The Valais Blacknose, German: Walliser Schwarznasenschaf, is a breed of domestic sheep originating in the Valais region of Switzerland. It is a dual-purpose breed, raised both for meat and for wool.


The breed originates in the mountains of the canton of Valais – from which its name derives – and of the Bernese Oberland. It is documented as far back as the fifteenth century, but the present German name was not used before 1884; the breed standard dates from 1962. In the past there was some cross-breeding with imported sheep, in the nineteenth century of Bergamasca and Cotswold stock,  and in the twentieth century of the Southdown breed. 


The Schwarznasenschaf is a mountain breed, well adapted to grazing on the stony pastures of its area of origin. Both rams and ewes are horned.


The Valais Blacknose is a dual-purpose breed, reared for both meat and wool. The wool is coarse: fibre diameter averages approximately 38 microns, and staple length is 100 mm or more.  The annual yield is about 4 kg per head.