The Vicentina, a variety of Lamon, is found on the Asiago Plateau (Fig. 4). Formerly, it was also in the Chiampo Valley. Most sheep in the area are in family holdings of only three to four head. In the winter they are stall-fed, but during the summer are put into bands of 700–1 000 sheep to graze in the mountains above the plateau.
Description. The breed is similar to the Lamon, except that dark colouration on the face and legs is more extensive, and the convex profile of the head is less pronounced than that of the Lamon (Fig. 11b).
Analysis of fleece samples. The two samples taken in the present study in May were 40 mm long, and had fine kemp among fine wool. The overall diameter range was 14 to 126 μm, with modes of 20 and 27 μm and means of 35.8 ± 15.9 and 37.0 ± 17.3 μm. There were 15 percent medullated fibres, so they were of either hairy or hairy medium type. There were 33 percent medullated fibres in the skin, and the mean S/P follicle ratio was the relatively high figure of 5.6.
Performance. Production is for wool, exceptional today for a semi-coarse wooled type. The Vicenza is a good milker and some milk is converted to cheese for consumption by the owner-families. As recently as ten years ago, the main use of the breed was for meat (lambs at 6–7 months and 50 kg, and young castrates at 8–12 months), but now almost all sold for slaughter are Vicenza-Lamon crosses. Reproduction: it was reported that about 80 percent of the ewes lamb once a year, and 15–20 percent twice a year. The lambing rate is approximately 150–160 percent.
Adaptation. The Vicenza is well adapted to transhumant husbandry on the Asiago Plateau, but sheep owners in the area stated that it is less hardy than the Bergamo and the Lamon.
Status. The Vicenza is endangered. At the time of the survey (May, 1975) it was estimated to number about 1 000. Ten holdings were identified in four places (Canova, Gallio, Foza, and Enego; Fig. 4). In 1945 it numbered about 30 000 (AZZOLINI, 1975), but by 1961 it had decreased to 6 500 (MASON, 1967). As elsewhere, the declining number of professional shepherds has adversely affected sheep production on the plateau, but crossbreeding has been the chief factor of the Vicenza's decline.
The Cadorina was formerly found in Cadore commune and north into the Dolomites east of the Piave along the Ampezzo valley to the border of Bolzano (Fig. 4). According to sheep owners in the area, the Cadore was derived from crossings of the Lamon with Alpine breeds imported from Austria. Sheep in the area are held in small flocks of 5–12 head which are stall-fed during the winter. In late May the holdings of many owners are combined to form bands of approximately 400 head which are taken by professional shepherds to high alpine pastures in the Dolomites. In early October the sheep are returned to their owners in the valleys.
Description. The Cadore is described by MASON (1967) and ISPETTORATO AGRARIO VENEZIA (1931?) (Fig. 11c). The breed is relatively small. Mature rams average 70 cm in height and 50 kg; ewes 65 cm and 38–40 kg. The colour is white, ears are pendulous, and horns are absent.
Analysis of fleece samples. The only sample obtained in the present study was a Cadore-Lamon cross which appeared like British Down wool and was 40 mm long. The diameter range of 14–48 μm was in keeping with this appearance, the mean being 31.3 ± 5.9 μm and the mode 30 μm, i.e., wool clearly of medium type. There were no medullated fibres in either the wool or the skin, and the S/P ratio was 4.0.
Performance. Production is chiefly for meat. A little income is derived from wool.
Adaptation. Owners stated that the breed is hardly and a strong walker with good endurance for the summer migration.
Status. The breed is endangered, if not extinct, mainly because owners have crossed Cadore ewes with rams of other breeds - the Lamon and the Agordina (a local breed of the Cortina area which resembles a small Biella.) The Cadore sheep seen during the survey were crosses of these two breeds; none was found that could be identified as “pure”. Sheep are of minor importance in the local economy, and many owners have given up sheep raising.
The home area of this Alpine breed is central Udine Province, but it has become exceedingly rare, and, except for the crosses, the only specimen seen during the survey (May, 1975) was at the town of Talmassons (Fig. 4). According to FEDERCONSORZI (1961) and MASON (1967) the Friuli is the result of crossing the Lamon with other breeds- Paduan, Istrian Milk, and unspecified “German” sheep; informants in the local area add to these the Carsolina (BOSSI, 1975). The Friuli is kept in holdings of several head per family and are stall-fed throughout the year. The sheep are tended and milked by women.
Description. As described by MASON (1967), the height is 70–75 cm for rams and 65–75 cm for ewes. The colour is white, occasionally with dark spots around the eyes, nose, mouth, and near the feet. The head is long and narrow with a slightly convex profile. Ears are of medium length and semi-pendulous. Both sexes are hornless. The tail is thin and hangs to just below the hocks. The one pure Friuli seen during the survey (at Talmassons) was a four-year-old ewe, black except for a white spot near the nose (Fig. 11f). About 10 percent of Friuli are black.
Analysis of fleece samples. The single sample taken in May was 30 mm long, and appeared black except for a few white hairs. The fibre diameter ranged from 20 to 86 μm with a mean of 42.1 ± 17.8 μm and a mode of 26 μm. There was 5 percent medullation in the skin, and the S/P follicle ratio was 4.7.
Performance. The Friuli originally was a triple-purpose breed, but with its decline in numbers in recent years, production has become almost entirely for milk converted to cheese. Ewes were reported to yield an average of 2 litres per day for 4–5 months; FEDERCONSORZI (1961) states the yield to be 110 litres in 110 days. Lambs average 11 kg at one month and 28 kg at six months (MINISTERO DELL'AGRICOLTURA, n.d.) Additional income is derived by the sale of manure and straw from stall sweepings. Reproduction: ewes lamb once per year; twins are uncommon.
Status. Endangered; possibly extinct. At the time of the survey, few Friuli sheep, other than crosses, were known to exist. Informants reported that there have been no purebred Friuli rams in the home area of the breed since 1971. Sheep numbers (all breeds and crosses) in Udine Province decreased substantially in the past forty years; 31 296 in 1930, 18 740 in 1952 (TRIULZI, 1958), and 3 201 in 1971 (ISTITUTO CENTRALE DI STATISTICA, 1974).
The southernmost island of the Ionian group, Zakinthos, or Zante, has a breed which differs from other Greek sheep and, according to GEORGIOU (1960), is derived from the Bergamo of Italy; it is listed by MASON (1967) with the Alpine breeds. Today the Zante is found only in the southeastern part of the island southeast of Kalamaki (Fig. 5). Traditionally sheep on the island have been kept in “domestic” holdings (family flocks of 1–5 head) which graze in the owners' orchards except during rainy days in winter when they are stall-fed. During the past decade the total number of owners has decreased, largely as the result of migration from the island, and the average flock size has increased substantially (holding of 50–60 sheep are not uncommon).
Description. The Zante sheep seen during the survey were generally as described by MASON (1967) (Fig. 12e). They were uniformly tall - the six ewes that were measured ranged from 72 to 80 cm at the withers, with a mean of 76 cm (GEORGIOU, 1961, and MASON, give the height as 65–75 cm). About five percent of the sheep were either black or brown.
Analysis of fleece samples. Only four fleece samples were obtained and these ranged in length from 80 to 125 mm with a mean of 104 mm. The samples were variable, only one being typical of the true hairy type. Two had kemp and wool almost like a woolless “hair” sheep, and the fourth, which was black, was much finer, being a hairy medium wool like the Drama Native or the Chalkidiki.
The overall diameter range was from 16 to 184 μm; the modes were either 30 or 34 μm, with a mean mode of 31 μm, and the mean diameter ranged from 33.8 to 68.0 μm with an overall mean of 54.5 μm. The proportion of medullated fibres ranged from 2 percent in the hairy-medium sheep, which also had 100 percent pigmented fibres, to 44 percent, with a mean of 26 percent. Another sheep had 2 percent pigmented fibres, and these measurements confirmed the identifications given above.
Performance. The Zante is a dual-purpose animal, with milk and meat of about equal value. The exploitable yield of milk annually is about 150 kg; according to ZERVAS and BOYAZOGLU (1977) the average is 157 kg in 135 kg days. The milk is converted by the owner-family to the “Dopio” cheese of Zakinthos, which enjoys a good market locally and on the mainland. Lambs are sold at 60 days and give a carcass of 10–21 kg.
Reproduction: ewes are first mated at eight months to one year and remain fertile for about ten years. The lambing rate was reported to be 180–200 percent.
Status. The Zante is endangered. At an accelerating rate since the late 1960's Zante ewes have been crossed with rams from the Greek mainland and with imported East Friesians in order to produce improved lambs for slaughter. The total population of the breed, according to ZERVAS and BOYAZOGLU (1977), is approximately 9 500, a number considerably greater than our survey data indicate. No flocks of purebred Zante were found during the survey (March, 1975) and it appears probable that the number of purebred ewes on the island is within the range of 300–500. In April, 1975, a careful estimate by A. TOPALOUDIS, Directorate of Agriculture, Zakinthos, revealed that the total number of pure Zante rams was about sixty (personal communication). An unknown number of Zante (reported to be mostly crossbreds) are on the mainland north of the Gulf of Corinth, and in parts of the Peloponnese adjacent to the island.
The Imroz breed takes its name from the Turkish island 15 km west of the Gallipoli Peninsula (Fig. 5). The breed is also found on the mainland on Turkey in the provinces of Çanakkale and Baliskesir (E. DENIZ, personal communication).
The breed was seen in April, 1975, at Kumkale Animal Breeding Station, where the Turkish Government maintains about 980 purebred Imroz.
Description. Wither heights were recorded at the station for six ewes and one ram. The values for the ewes ranged from 60 cm to 67 cm, with 62.8 cm the mean; the ram was 71 cm. Live weight is reported to be from 35 to 40 kg (ÖZCAN, 1972). The fleece is white and covers the top of the head and the trunk to the belly, which is bare. Commonly black or reddish-brown patches occur around the eyes, the nose, and the tips of the ears (Fig. 12b). The head is narrow; the bridge of the nose straight in profile. The legs are white and bare of wool. The tail is of medium width, reaching to just below the hocks. About two-thirds of the ewes seen at Kumkale were polled; the remainder had small scurs. Rams develop horns which spread widely in open spiral (very much like those of Sopravissana rams seen in central Italy).
Analysis of fleece samples. Twelve Imroz fleece samples ranged in length from 60 to 160 mm with a mean of 123.3 mm. Most samples appeared hairy, with a hairy tip, and varying proportions of kemp and underwool, being typical of carpet wool type; four were black.
The overall fibre diameter range was from 12 to 194 μm, and the modes ranged from 20 to 34 μm with a mean of 25.1 μm. The mean diameters ranged from 31.0 to 46.8 μm with an average of 36.5 μm. Most of the diameter distributions were skew-fine to continuous, typical of a hairy type, but two with hairs no greater than 70μm in diameter had skew-fine distributions, i.e., were hairy medium wools.
Every sample had some medullated fibres which ranged in incidence from 3 to 24% with a mean of 12%. Only two of the six skin samples had any medullated fibres, possibly because of the season of sampling (early April), the overall mean being 2%. An overall mean of 31% of the primary follicles, and 8% of the secondaries were inactive. The S/P follicle ratio ranged from 4.1 to 5.8 with a mean of 4.5, which is a relatively high value for a hairy-fleeced type.
Performance. Production is for milk (by estimated value 60 percent), lamb (35 percent), and wool (5 percent). Annual milk production per ewe varies widely from 50 kg to 150 kg.
The breed is shorn twice a year; annual wool production per head is about 1.5 kg to 2 kg. The fleece, which hangs in curled locks 25 cm to 30 cm long is not uniform in quality. “Although the average fibre diameter is 35–40 μm, coarse wiry examples 36s to 40s in quality are found, and the value of the wool is correspondingly low” (ÖZCAN, 1972, p. 18).
Reproduction: lambing occurs once a year, and at the rate of 129 percent at Kumkale station; elsewhere (according to ÖZCAN) from 112 to 120 percent.
Adaptation. Imroz are reported to be hardy, resistant to cold weather, and relatively free from disease.
Status. The breed is not threatened. Estimates of its numbers range from 30 000 (M. SANDIKCIOĞLU) to 67 000 (N. ULUDAĞ; personal communications).
The Pramenka is the common Zackel type of sheep in Yugoslavia (Fig. 12d). MASON (1967) recognized about 20 breeds, but all of the shepherds that were interviewed during the present study knew their sheep only as “Pramenkas”.
The flock sampled in December near Biléca were described as “medium Pramenkas”, and most closely resembled MASON's (1967) illustration of the Piva breed (his Plate 98). Details are included here for comparison with the Dubrovnik and Pag.
Analysis of fleece samples. The mean fleece length of five samples was 173 mm and the overall diameter range was 18 to 160 μm. The modes ranged from 30 to 44 μm with a mean of 32.2 μm, and the means from 33.2 ± 13.9 to 45.2 ± 18.8 μm, with an overall mean of 42.1 μm. All samples had medullated fibres, and the mean proportion being 13.2%. The fleeces were of true hairy type, one being dark grey, and having 69% pigmented fibres.
The skin samples had a mean of 5% medullated primaries, and the sheep with the greatest proportion (21%) also had 2% medullated secondaries. There were 15% inactive primaries and 10% inactive secondaries, and an S/P follicle ratio of 3.3.
The Vlach is classified by MASON as a mountain variety of the Greek Zackel. The breed is the most numerous in Greece, contributing 21% of all sheep in Greece, or 1 797 000 head, and originated in the Pindus Mountains according to ZERVAS and BOYAZOGLU (1977). The people known as Vlachs are, by their heritage, nomads who speak an archaic language closely related to Latin. They are found in small numbers in Thrace, Macedonia, and in the neighbouring countries. Formerly, most of the Vlachs in Greece migrated seasonally with their flocks, spending the winter in the plains and the summer in the mountains.
It is an old tradition, still observed in Greece, that all transhumant flocks are taken to the mountains on St. George's Day, 23 April, and are brought back to the plains on St. Demetrios' Day, 26 October.
Today, almost all Vlachs in Greece are settled in towns and cities, but the sheep to which their name is given are widely distributed throughout the Greek mainland and in the Peloponnese. The remaining migratory flocks are no longer walked to the seasonal grazing areas but are transported by trucks.
Vlach sheep were seen during the survey at the Yannitsa Animal Breeding Experimental Station, in village flocks at Koutsocheron (near Larissa), and at Orini, near Serrai (Fig. 5).
The Epirus variety of the Mountain Zackel is classified by GEORGIOU as one of the Vlach breeds. It was seen at the Farm Station, Ioannina, where a flock of Epirus are maintained.
The Vlach sheep seen at Yannitsa came from Larissa, and were of the Kozani variety (Fig. 13a). They had a typical, hairy carpet-type fleece, having staples with a pointed tip. The Vlach sheep seen at Orini were very variable, with black, white and spotted faces, as well as black eyes and nose. The wool was mostly hairy, although in some it was curly.
Analysis of fleece samples. The single sample taken on 29 January at Koutsocheron was 120 mm long and hairy. The fibre diameter range was 20 to 96 μm with a mean of 43 μm and a mode of 30 μm; 21% of the fibres were medullated, and 4% pigmented.
In the skin 25% of the primary follicles had medullated fibres and 25% were inactive. The S/P ratio was 4.4 for two samples taken. For the Epirus the fleece length (March) was 130 mm, and the overall fibre diameter range 18 to 110 μm. The mean diameter was 43.7 μm, and the modes 24 and 30 μm. Thirteen percent of the fibres were medullated, and these findings indicated a hairy fleece type.
The six Vlach samples taken at Yannitsa in February had a pointed hairy tip. The staples ranged in length from 90 to 150 mm with a mean of 127 mm. The overall fibre diameter range was from 18 to 104 μm, and the modes ranged from 25 to 40 μm with a mean of 33.7 μm. The mean diameters ranged from 36.5 to the high value of 46.8 μm with an overall mean of 41.7 μm. Every sample had medullated fibres, the proportion ranging from 1% to 27% with a mean of 15%. The samples were on the whole very variable, one in fact having a symmetrical diameter distribution and little medullation, being therefore a medium type, while the remainder had a skewed to a fine distribution, and so were of true hairy type.
In the skin, 10% of the primaries had a non-latticed medulla, and 7% were inactive; 3% of the secondaries were inactive and the S/P follicle ratio had the relatively high value of 4.1. There was a large difference in diameter between the primaries and secondaries.
The Sarakatsan (also Karakachan, Karatsaniko), the breed of the nomadic Sarakatsan shepherds, is another variety of the Mountain Zackel, and is found mainly in Greek Macedonia and Thrace, and in the mountainous parts of Bulgaria (Fig. 5). Most of the Sarakatsans, like the Vlachs, no longer follow a nomadic way of life, and fully migratory flocks are few in number. But lowland flocks of Sarakatsan, crossed with other breeds, are still found in northern Greece. Contemporary husbandry includes provision of feed concentrates during the winter and, for transhumant flocks, transportation by truck to and from the mountains (T. ALIFAKIOTIS, 1975, personal communication).
Description. The breed is described by MASON (1967) and by GEORGIOU (1960). During January, 1975, in the course of the survey in Greece, a migratory flock of Sarakatsan were observed by CHB at Giourbeli, near Larissa (Fig. 13b). Another flock was visited in Bulgaria by MLR in September, 1975. The colour is predominantly black or dark brown, with less than 10% white. The breed is slightly taller than the Vlach: rams 63–68 cm, and ewes 56–60 cm. The rams have spiral horns. Most ewes are polled; some have sours. The tail is of medium length (Mason quotes a length of 25 cm).
Analysis of fleece samples. Only two sheep were fleece-sampled in Greece, but a further seven samples were obtained from the flock visited in Bulgaria. This flock had hairy (“tippy”) fleeces, and the sheep were very variable in colour, even over the body. The colour range was black, brown, grey and white. The darker animals typically had black legs and face, while the paler ones could have a white face or “spectacles”. Many had a woolly top knot. As usual in sheep, the grey was produced by a mixture of black and white fibres.
One of the Greek samples (January) was white (160 mm) and the other black (180 mm). The overall diameter range was 16 to 144 μm, with a mean of 51 μm, and modes of 30 and 50 μm. With a mean of 14% medullated fibres, both clearly had a hairy type of fleece.
The Bulgarian samples were all hairy with “tippy” pointed staples as in the Scottish Blackface. The length ranged from 80 to 130 mm with a mean of 104 mm (September). Three of the samples were brown, one dark grey, one light grey and two white.
The overall diameter range was 18 to 122 μm, and the modes ranged from 24 to 50 μm with a mean of 34 μm. The mean diameters ranged from 43.7 to 63.4 μm giving the relatively high overall mean of 48.7 μm. Every sample had medullated fibres, the proportion ranging from 7% to 40% with a mean of 25%. Only one sample lacked pigmented fibres, the proportion in the remainder ranging from 3% to 88% with a mean (including the zero value) of 38%. All but one sample had a skewed-to-fine diameter distribution and were clearly of true hairy fleece type, the other was somewhat less coarse, and had a symmetrical distribution, so that it was of hairy medium type.
The skin of the Greek samples had 18% medullated primary fibres, and 24% inactive primary follicles. There were no medullated secondaries, but one sheep had 34% inactive secondary follicles, and the S/P ratio was 3.1 (2.5 and 3.6).
The Bulgarian samples had 7% latticed and 31% non-latticed primary fibres; 1% of the secondary follicles were inactive, and the S/P ratio was 3.9. Typically the central primaries tended to be pigmented, and to have a latticed medulla, while the lateral primary follicles had no pigment and a non-latticed medulla.
Performance. Income is derived mainly from milk (for cheese), with the exploitable annual yield per ewe averaging only 25–35 kg.
Reproduction: according to MASON, the lambing rate is 150%. Commonly, ewes lamb once per year; 15–20% three times in two years. The shepherd-owner of the migratory flock seen in Greece reported a lambing rate of 185%, a remarkably high figure which he attributed to good nutrition, especially the provision of feed concentrate during the winter months. His ewes are first mated at 7–8 months of age.
Adaptation. The Sarakatsan is a hardy breed, but it is not as well adapted as the Vlach to the adverse conditions of winter in the high plains (at elevations of 1 000 metres or more). Brown or black sheep are reputedly stronger and more vigorous than white.
Status. Although in decline, the Sarakatsan is not endangered at present. In 1975 it was estimated that the number (excluding the crossbreds) in Larissa nomos was about 15 000 (T. ALIFAKIOTIS). According to ZERVAS and BOYAZOGLU (1977) the number in Greece is 304 500 but this figure apparently includes crossbred animals. Elsewhere in southeastern Europe there are probably at least 50 000 “pure” Sarakatsan.
The Drama Native breed, encountered during the survey near the village of Volax, north of Drama (Fig. 5), is not listed by MASON, but is probably a variety of the Vlach.
Description. Height: the range for four ewes measured was 52–56 cm, with a mean of 55; the one ram was 66 cm. Some animals seen in the course of the survey were closely similar to the (coloured) Vlach sheep illustrated in MASON's Plate 110. The black sheep we saw had a relatively finer fleece than the others (Fig. 13d), and were also similar to the Chalkidiki sheep (see below).
On the whole, however, as with other Greek breeds, the appearance was very variable: horned and polled animals, black, white and grey fleeces, speckled faces and legs, and a moderately long tail. Black around the eyes, and a woolly “top knot”, were common, as in other Greek breeds.
Analysis of fleece samples. In three of the five fleece samples taken the bulk of the wool was between 16 and 60 μm in diameter, with a few hairs up to 70 μm in diameter, making them hairy medium wools. Two of the sheep had a more continuous distribution with hairs up to 112 μm in diameter, being therefore true hairy types, although they had no more than 10 percent medullated fibres. The overall mean percentage of medullated fibres was 5 percent. The mean diameter was 39.1 μm (range 33.3 to 47.5 μm) and the average of the modes 31.6 μm (range 22 to 38 μm).
There was no medullation at all in the skin, and 13 percent of the primary and 4 percent of the secondary follicies were inactive. The S/P ratio of 3.2 was low (range 2.5 to 4.7; cf. Chalkidiki breed below).
Performance. Lamb provides 64 percent of the income, milk 32 percent (exploitable yield 40 kg in 90 days, 80% converted to cheese), and wool 4 percent (fleece weight one kg). In contrast, for the Serrai breed of the plain, 60 percent of the income comes from milk, 35 percent from meat, and 5 percent from wool.
Reproduction: the ewes mate first at 20 months, and lamb only once a year. They remain fertile for about eight years. Owing to barrenness and a 10 percent lamb mortality, the weaning percentage was only 80 percent.
Status. The breed is rare. At the time of the survey, it was reported that the total number is about 2 000, held by 21 owners in two villages near Volax. Most of the sheep in the flocks with Drama Native are crossbred; the Mytilene is the most popular breed for crossing.
The Florina, not listed by MASON, is a local breed in northwestern Macedonia that is said to be a cross between the Mountain and Lowland Zackels. Sheep of the breed were seen at the Yannitsa Experimental Station and in several flocks near the town of Florina (Fig. 5).
Description. The coat is predominantly white (Fig. 13c). The colour of the face is variable - all white, or with black around the eyes and the nose. The ears are predominantly black. The fleece appeared to be less hairy than that of the Karagouniko (lowland) or Vlach (mountain) breeds seen at Yannitsa. The mean height of the three ewes that were measured was 67 cm. Rams have spiral horns or are polled.
Analysis of fleece samples. The staple length (February) of six samples ranged from 70 to 120 mm with a mean of 93 mm, and the shortest had a shallow wave of about 1.5 waves per cm. The overall fibre diameter range was from 12 to 100 μm, the mean diameters ranged from 40.4 to 47.6 μm with a mean of 44.3 μm. The modes ranged from 34 to 50 μm with a mean of 42 μm. The proportion of medullated fibres ranged from zero to 28% with a mean of 14%, but the relative fineness of the hairs, and the symmetrical fibre diameter distribution identified the fleece type as hairy medium, and confirmed the apparent greater fineness than the supposed parental breeds.
There were no medullated primary fibres within the skin, but two sheep had some secondary fibres with a non-latticed medulla, the overall proportion being less than 1%; 27% of the primaries and 2% of the secondary follicles were inactive, and the S/P follicle ratio of 3.9 was relatively high (range 3.1 to 4.8).
Status. The breed is not threatened at present. It is estimated that at least 3 000 Florina sheep are in Greece, and that a greater number are across the border in Albania, where the breed is known as the Pelagonia.
The Karagouniko (a common breed, the second most numerous in Greece) is one of the two varieties of the Lowland Zackel. The Karagouniko is found is the Palamas-Trikkala area of Thessaly, and, also, in the Macedonian plains and in Boeotia (Fig. 5). It is mainly white or black, but there are also brown, pied or spotted animals. Those seen at Yannitsa had a typical hairy fleece with pointed staples; and a black and white speckled face (Fig. 14c).
Analysis of fleece samples. Two of the six fleece samples, had a few pigmented fibres (2 and 3%) and the staple length ranged from 110 to 150 mm with a mean of 132 mm (February). The overall fibre diameter range was from 20 to 136 μm, and the means ranged from 45.9 to 52.5 μm with a overall mean of 49.3 μm. The modes ranged from 26 to 40 μm with a mean of 32.7 μm. The diameter distribution was skewed with the majority of the fibres being fine; the proportion of medullated fibres ranged from 3 to 22% with a mean of 15%, and the fleeces were clearly of true hairy type.
In the skin 6% of the primary fibres were medullated, but less than 1% of the secondaries; 38% of the primary follicies, but less than 3% of the secondaries were inactive. The S/P follicle ratio of 2.9 was relatively low (range 2.5 to 3).
The Skopelos (or Glossa), a dairy breed of the Greek Island Zackel type, was developed on the island of Skopelos in the Northern Sporadhes (Fig. 5, 6). The ancestry of the breed is obscure. According to MASON (1967) there is no record of sheep on Skopelos before 1800, and he considers that a fertile breed with a coarse fleece could have been introduced from St Eustratios island, and the fleece selected to give the modern Skopelos. His alternative-possible origin from the Chalkidiki breed - is supported by N.P. ZERVAS of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (personal communication). However, A. KARANTUNIAS of the Superior School of Agriculture, Athens, considers the breed to be derived from the Tsigai (personal communication). According to MASON the Kymi breed on the island of Euboea is derived from the Skopelos.
During the past fifteen years, land use on Skopelos has changed to give greater emphasis to horticulture, and increasingly, young persons leave the island to find employment elsewhere. During the past decade the resident population decreased from about 5 500 to 3 000. Sheep husbandry, which was similar to that described for the Dubrovnik breed, has disappeared. Formerly, from one to three ewes were taken out to graze each day and returned to stalls at the house in the evening. On the mainland, Skopelos sheep are kept in flocks of from 20 to 25 head, which are stall-fed throughout the year.
Description. In the course of our survey, the description of the breed by MASON (1967) was confirmed. Height: for rams is 66–71 cm, and for ewes 53–66 cm. The colour is white, with about 10% brown and black. The nose is convex, and the ears are horizontal (Fig. 13e). The rams that were seen had small curled horns; the ewes were polled.
Analysis of fleece samples. The fleece was noticeably finer than that of other Greek breeds sampled, and the wool more crimped. The mean fibre diameter of 26 μm quoted by MASON accords with the quality number of 50s to 56s he quotes.
Three groups of five fleece samples were obtained: from the island, and from Nea Ankhiolos and Yannitsa on the mainland; skin samples, too, were taken from the latter.
The fleece was in general comparable with that of a British Down type, but with a tendency towards waviness, and a coarser staple tip, which was also greasy. The best defined waviness had two waves per cm. The sheep on the island had the shortest and finest fleeces, the staple length ranging from 60 to 70 mm with a mean of 63 mm. The staple length of the Nea Ankhialos samples ranged from 70 mm to 140 mm in one uncharacteristically hairy individual, with a mean of 105 mm. That of the Yannitsa animals ranged from 80 to 110 mm with a mean of 93 mm.
Except for the hairy animals, and one with a few hairy dibres, the overall diameter range was from 16 μm, to 60 μm, and most animals had a symmetrical diameter distribution, although two had an unusual skewed-to-medium distribution; but nearly all were true medium fleece types on the classification of RYDER (1969). The skewness was so great in one of the Yannitsa samples as to make the mode 50 μm, which increased the mean mode to 39.8 μm, compared with 33.3 and 33.4 μm in the other two groups (ranges 30 to 40 μm and 30 to 37 μm).
The overall mean fibre diameter of the island group was 34.8 μm (range 32.6 to 37.5 μm). while that of the Nea Ankhialos group was 40.7 μm, which was raised by the mean of 58.7 μm in the hairy animal already discussed. If this animal is excluded, the mean is reduced to 36.2 μm (range 33.6 to 39.5 μm). The mean fibre diameter of the Yannitsa group was 37.8 μm (range 35.2 to 42.1 μm).
Only one of the Yannitsa sheep had any medullated fibres, the proportion being 2% and the overall mean was 0.4%. Four of the Nea Ankhialos animals (including the two hairy animals) had medullated fibres ranging up to 20% of the total, the overall mean being 9.8%. Despite the relative fineness of the island group, three of the animals had medullated fibres, the proportion ranging up to 28%, making the overall mean 7.6%.
Follicle counts in the skin samples indicated a secondary/primary follicle ratio of 3.7 (range 3.2 to 4.4). There were no medullated fibres within the skin which is in keeping with the loss of medullation in winter. A mean of 4% of the primaries and 0.5% of the secondaries were inactive.
Performance. Income is derived from milk (sold to cheese factories in the Volos area) and from lambs for slaughter. The annual yield of Skopelos ewes at Yannitsa Station is 250–300 kg per ewe (ZERVAS et al., 1975).
Reproduction: the outstanding characteristics of the Skopelos are precocity and prolificacy. Sexual maturity is achieved seven months after birth, with ewes lambing at age 13 to 15 months. Three lambings in two years is usual. However, our findings support the statement by GEORGIOU (1960) that with good management “two lambings a year are easily obtained with large litters at each lambing”. His data (for 94 ewes lambing) show a lambing percentage of 184, with singles accounting for 37 percent, twins 45 percent, triplets, 15 percent, and quadruplets 3 percent. During our survey, the owner of one flock of Skopelos (at Nea Ankhialos) reported 70 lambs per lambing from the 30 ewes he managed.
Adaptation. Attempts during the 1950's to establish the breed on the mainland failed, with high mortality of sheep. The present flocks of Skopelos in the area south of Volos are descended from breeding stock brought from the island during 1964–65 to replace Chios ewes that had become diseased with an udder infection that seriously reduced lactation. With careful husbandry, and especially the provision of supplemental feed, the Skopelos breed now appears to be successfully established on the mainland.
Status. The breed is vulnerable. At the time of our survey (February, 1975) the number of mature Skopelos sheep on the island was 97 consisting of 85 ewes and 12 rams (according to GEORGIOU, in 1960, the total was 470). There were in 1975 only six owners of sheep on the island, with flocks of from eight to twenty animals. Goats have replaced sheep as the source of milk for home consumption.
About 900 Skopelos sheep are kept on the mainland near several small towns on the coast south of the city of Volos (as shown in Fig. 6). Small flocks of the breed are maintained also at Thessaloniki University Farm and at Yannitsa Animal Breeding Station. About 1 000–1 500 (including crossbreds?) were reported to be on Euboea. Probably the total of mature “pures” in Greece is about 2 200–3 000. This estimate differs markedly from that given by ZERVAS and BOYAZOGLU (1977), namely 8 500.
GEORGIOU (1960) and MASON (1967) describe two varieties of the Greek Zackel on the island of Crete - the Sfakia of the western lowlands, and the Psiloris (also known as the Anogia) of the Ida (Psiloris) Mountains in central Crete (Fig. 5). MASON (1967) considers “Sitia” and “Psiloris” to be synonomous. However, it was found during the survey that local owners regard the Sitia of eastern Crete as a distinct variety. Management is extensive for all three varieties, with the sheep in family flocks of 200–400 head kept on open grazing throughout the year. In contrast to the Sitia, which remains at relatively low elevations throughout the year, the Sfakia and the Psiloris are taken to the mountains and remain there from late March to December.
Description. Mature rams of the Psiloris and the Sfakia are about 64–66 cm at the withers, compared to about 57 cm for the Sitia; ewes of the three varieties are about the same height, 52–55 cm. Owners and others who are knowledgeable of sheep on the island attribute the divergence in the size of the varieties to qualitative differences in the forage available in their respective areas, with the poorest grazing being in the eastern part of Crete, where the smallest of the three varieties, the Sitia, is found. It was noted that the muzzle of Psiloris rams and ewes is straight; Sitia ewes have a straight profile also, but rams have a convex muzzle. Rams of the three varieties have laterally spiralled horns; most ewes are polled (see Fig. 14b, 14d, 14e, 14f).
Analysis of fleece samples. The fleece measurements of the Cretan Zackels are shown in Table 2. The fleeces are clearly all of a similar generally hairy type, and there were too few samples to confirm the assertion of the local people that the Psiloris is a distinct type.
The Psiloris did show variations, however, which may provide clues about its affinities. Two of the sheep had relatively shorter staples, and a skewed-to-fine diameter distribution making them hairy medium, wools rather than true hairy types. The true hairy sheep had long heterotype hairs like the Scottish Blackface, whereas the hairy medium sheep were more like hairy Shetland sheep in which the hairy fibres were fine kemps.
Performance. For the Sfakia and the Psiloris income is from milk (for cheese making) and, secondarily, from lambs sold for butchering. For the Sitia, meat outranks milk in returns to the owners.
Reproduction: the lambing rates for the three varieties were reported to be about the same, 85–95% (115–120% if nutrition is improved by stall feeding with supplementary concentrates).
Adaptation. The Sfakia and the Psiloris are the most hardy of the three varieties, the best walkers and the most resistant to cold. Neither can withstand the high summer temperatures of lowland Crete, to which the Sitia is adapted. During the survey, Sitia owners reported that performance in milk production is improved by crossing their ewes with Sfakia rams, but that hardiness is lowered.
Status. The Sfakia and Psiloris are not threatened at present, and constitute, with crossbreds, the majority of the 385 000 Cretan Zackel (number of sheep from ZERVAS and BOYAZOGLU, 1977).
The Sitia, on the other hand, is endangered. It was estimated at the time of the survey (January, 1975), that crossbreeding with imported Sfakia and Psiloris rams had reduced the number of the Sitia to less than 1 000. There is no reason to believe that the decline has abated since then.
FLEECE MEASUREMENTS OF CRETAN ZACKELS
|Breed||Mean staple length|
|Overall diameter range|
|Mean of diameter modes|
|Breed average diameter|
|Medullation %||% inactive follicle||S/P follicle ratio||Fleece type|
|Sfakia (5)||138||12–154||23.6||45.3||27.6||9||60||37||3.5||all hairy type|
|Sitia (2)||150||14–126||23.0||36.8||14.0||0||82||48||2.8||both hairy|
|Psiloris (5)||118||12–180||19.8||38.0||19.0||5||15||19||3.5||3 hairy, like Scottish Blackface|
|2 hairy medium, like Shetland|
This prolific meat and milk breed in southern Kerkira (Corfu: Fig. 5, 7), is according to MASON (1967) derived from the Greek Zackel. The sheep are managed in “domestic” holdings of 1–5 head, and graze during the day in the owners' olive groves and fruit orchards. In the morning and evening the sheep are stall-fed on dry fodder with maize and barley concentrates. Over half of the area of southern Kerkira is planted to olive trees, and the sheep owners there derive most of their agricultural income from the sale of the olivers for oil. In recent years, tourism has become important to the local economy.
Description. The Levkimmi is a tall breed. The heights of the two rams measured were 78 and 81 cm, and for five ewes the range was 62–70 cm, with a mean of 67 cm. The colour is predominantly white, with the nose, ears, and eyes commonly black (Fig. 13f). The head is narrow, the muzzle moderately convex, and the ears narrow and horizontal. The body and legs are long; the tail thin and hangs to just above the hocks. Rams have large horns which spiral laterally; some ewes have small horns, but most are polled. Many of the sheep of both sexes seen had neck tassels.
Analysis of fleece samples. Seven fleece samples and four skin samples were taken at the end of March. All the fleeces had pointed staple tips typical of true hairy fleeces, and black hairy fibres as well as white kemps were evident. The staple lengths ranged from 90 to 170 mm with a mean of 134.3 mm. The overall diameter range was from 18 to 200 μm. The mean diameters ranged from 46.3 to 68 μm, with the high overall mean of 55.6 μm. The modes ranged from 28 to 34 μm with a mean mode of 30.4 μm.
Every sample had medullated fibres, the proportion ranging from 16% to 42% with a mean of 27.6%. Four of the samples had 2 or 3% of pigmented fibres, the mean including zero values being 1.4%. All these features, plus the skew-fine diameter distribution, confirmed the identification as being true hairy type.
Only two animals had any medullated fibres in the skin, the maximum proportion being 25% and the overall mean including zero values being 8%. This lower percentage than in the fleece is in keeping with the sampling time in winter, when the production of medulla is at its least. Also in keeping with the time of sampling, three of the sheep had inactive primary follicles, the mean proportion being 25%. Only two animals had inactive secondaries, the mean being 1%. The S/P ratio ranged from 2.6 to 3.4, the relatively low mean of 3.0 being typical of the hairy fleece type. There was a big difference in diameter between the primaries and secondaries, some of the latter being very fine.
Performance. About 60% of income is earned from lambs sold for slaughter and about 30% from milk for cheese making. Lactation is from October through August.
Reproduction: ewes are first mated at 10 months to one year of age and remain fertile for about 12 years.
The lambing rate is approximately 180; an owner interviewed during the survey reported that one of his ewes invariably has four lambs yearly, that all four survive, each attaining a weight of about 25 kg in three months.
Status. The Levkimmi is endangered. At the time of the survey (March, 1975) it was estimated that there were about 500 “pure” Levkimmi on Kerkira, of which 25–30 were mature rams. Most of the sheep in southern Kerkira are crossbreds. Crossing of the Levkimmi with the Karamaniko (Dağliç), Karagouniko, and Chios began in 1965 with the government's programme of subsidies to Levkimmi owners who purchased rams of these three breeds. The figures below are estimated sheep populations (including crossbreds) for four communes in which most of the Levkimmi are found (data from the Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture, Kerkira). The sharpest declines in numbers and in holdings have occurred where the impact of tourism has been greatest.
Southern Kerkira: total sheep 1969–1973
|Ano Levkimmi||1 300||1 100||1 100 (300)*||1 200 (200)*||1 260 (150)*|
|Perivoli||1 150||1 350||1 300||1 250||1 350|
* Bracketed figures are the estimated number of holdings.
Each Balkan country has a finer-fleeced type, in addition to the predominant coarse-wooled Zackel. A common name for these is Ruda (uniform-wooled) sheep, and MASON (1967) states that they perhaps are derived from the Romanian Tsigai. However, the primary breed may be the Kivircik of Turkey (see p. 41).
The primitive type of fleece structure discovered in the present study suggests instead that such sheep represent a relic of an ancient fine wool with a generalized medium type of fleece.
The Serrai (a common breed), is a stationary type kept on the plain of the same name in northern Macedonia, Greece (Fig. 5). It is superficially similar to the Scottish Blackface, but has a finer fleece than that of the Blackface or Zackel type, approaching the quality of a British Down wool. MASON quotes a mean diameter of 35 μm and a staple length of 140 mm. The entire head and neck are usually black, as well as the legs and belly, and the rest of the fleece has many black fibres (Fig. 14a). Some sheep have a brown fleece, and these were said to be better milkers. The proportion of the income from milk was reported to be 60%, with 35% from meat, and only 5% from wool.
Analysis of fleece samples. The six fleece samples taken in February ranged in length from 70 to 80 mm with a mean of 77 mm. The overall fibre diameter range was from 18 to 100μm. The modes ranged from 26 to 50 μm with a mean of 39.6 μm. The mean diameters ranged from 34.4 to 47.2 μm with an overall mean of 42.2 μm. The diameter distributions were symmetrical or slightly skew-fine, and the fleeces were of hairy medium type. Each sample had some medullated fibres, the mean proportion being 10%; only one sample lacked pigmented fibres, the mean proportion (including the zero value) being 6%.
The skin had a mean of 2% latticed, and 9% non-latticed, medullation in the primary fibres, and there were hardly any medullated secondary fibres; 6% of the primary and 2% of the secondary follicles were inactive, and the S/P follicles ratio was 3.6 (range 2.8 to 4.8).
The Katafigion is a migratory breed of the Pieria Mountains in South-eastern Macedonia, Greece (Fig. 7). It has almost disappeared as a result of crossbreeding and socio-economic changes in the area.
Description. White is the prevailing colour of the Katafigion breed (Fig. 15a, 15b). Speckled or brown sheep are not regarded as purebred. The face, legs, and (commonly) the belly are bare of wool. Most have a top-knot. The tail is thin and of medium length. Rams are horned, and ewes polled. The nose is slightly convex, and the ears horizontal and of medium length. The wither heights of eight mature ewes ranged from 58 cm to 65 cm, with a mean of 62 cm. For the one ram that could be accepted as “probably purebred” the wither height was 70 cm.
Analysis of fleece samples. MASON (1967) described the Katafigion as the only migratory breed among the uniform-wooled sheep. He gave the fleece weight as 1 to 1.5 kg. and the sheep illustrated (Plate 118) has a “tippy” fleece like a hairy Shetland. The mean fibre diameter of 36 μm he quotes is coarser than the wool quality of 50s to 58s he also quotes. Nor does the staple length of 15 cm warrant the description “short”.
The ten fleece samples obtained in the present study in February were variable. Half were hairy, i.e. comparable to the Scottish Blackface type of carpet wool. There was further variation among the remaining finer ones, one being crisp like the British Down type, and one being wavy (2.5 waves per cm).
The staple length ranged from 50 to 180 mm with a mean of 100 mm. The overall diameter range was from 12 to 114 μm. The mean mode was 32.6 μm (range 30 to 38 μm). The average of the mean diameters was 39.9 μm (range 31.6 to 48.3 μm). The diameter distributions were either symmetrical (four medium fleece types) or skew fine/continuous (three hairy medium and three true hairy fleeces).
One animal was black and had 100% pigmented fibres, and another had 12% pigmented fibres. Seven animals had medullated fibres, the proportion ranged from 1 to 17% with a mean of 5.7%.
The sheep with the hairiest coat, and the greatest mean diameter, was the only one with any medullation in the skin, which amounted to 20%. This animal also had the highest proportion (33%) of inactive primaries. The overall mean of inactive primaries was 15%, and of the secondary follicles 6%. The S/P follicle ratio ranged from 2.0 to 4.1 with a mean of 2.9.
Performance. Production is for milk and lambs. GEORGIOU (1960) states that the low yield of milk - about 40 kg annually - is due to late lambing. Lambs weight 8 kg at 25–30 days. MASON (1967) states that Katafigion sheep kept permanently in the lowlands are larger and produce more milk than those in the transument flocks.
Reproduction: ewes are first mated at two-years of age, and it is common practice to breed for two lambings annually, in August and in February. The lambing rate was reported to be 150%.
Adaptation. Owners reported that the breed is unusually hardy and is eminently able to thrive on graze of poor quality.
For many years breeders have crossed the Katafigion with Greek Zackel (especially Karagouniko). In 1964 an artificial insemination programme was introduced in the Velvendos area to cross the Katafigion with the Chios and East Friesian breeds. There was significant loss of hardiness in the crossbred sheep, and without supplemental concentrated feed, a high mortality rate.
Status. The Katafigion is endangered. From a population of several thousand in 1960 (GEORGIOU, 1960), the number of purebred animals has declined to less than 100 today. Very few pure Katafigion sheep remain as they did formerly on the western slopes of the Pieria. That area was toured extensively in the course of the survey, but no sheep were found that could with certainty be identified as pure Katafigion. However, some purebred Katafigion were found at the town of Katerini among small flocks owned by former residents of Katafigion village. The village, set high in Pieria Mountains, had a population of several hundred families in the mid-1950's. At that time, each family maintained a flock of 100–150 sheep. Today only a few elderly persons remain there. During the past twenty years the others left the village to establish new home in Velvendos, in Katerini, and in other towns, where most of them have adopted an urban way of life. However, each year about thirty families from Katerini return to Katafigion village and remain there from late April to October. Some families bring their sheep, transporting them by motor trucks.
The finer-fleeced Chalkidiki is native to the penisula of that name in Macedonia (Fig. 6). About 10% of the Chalkidiki are found west and south of the hatched line; most of the sheep in this area are crossbreads of the Chalkidiki and the Chios. About 90% of the Chalkidiki are found east and north of the hatched line; most of the sheep in this area are crossbreds of the Chalkidiki, the Mytilene, and the Serrai. Flocks consist of about 60–250 sheep which are kept in open pastures and on rough grazing during most of the year. The numbers are declining and it was possible to locate only individual purebreds in flocks that are being crossed.
Description. Four mature ewes ranged in height from 65 to 69 cm, with a mean of 67 cm; the one mature ram was 68 cm. The most primitive animals was an all-black yearling ram that had horns and a convex nose, and a withers height of 64 cm (Fig. 15b). Ten percent of the sheep were black (of. the Drama Native breed, above). The general appearance, and the fleece, were like the Shetland breed, but the tail was longer (medium length) (Fig. 15a). The ewes were polled; the rams had spiral horns. The face, legs, and sometimes the belly, were black, although others were white, speckled, or had black around the eyes. Some of the white animals had black hairs, which, as in the Shetland breed (RYDER, 1968), give rise to grey fleeces, and some dark grey animals were seen.
Analysis of fleece samples. Among the brief details of the Chalkidiki breed given by GEORGIOU and by MASON are a ewe fleece weight of 1.4 kg, a staple length of 15 cm, and mean fibre diameter of 36 μm.
Two fleece samples indicated hairy animals with a mean of 46.4 μm a mode of 34 μm and 15 percent medullated fibres. The mean diameter of the remaining four was 33 μm and the average mode 25 μm. Three of these samples had a few hairs (mean proportion of medullated fibres, 12 percent) and were therefore hairy medium wools (cf. hairy Shetland); the remaining animal was a generalized medium wool (cf. woolly Shetland).
The skin samples had a mean of only 5 percent non-latticed medullation. The smaller amount than in the fleece accords with the time of sampling in winter. Thirty-one percent of the primaries and 11 percent of the secondary follicles were inactive which indicates a tendency to moult the fleece as in the Shetland. The S/P ratio of 3.3 was low (cf. Drama Native breed).
The general appearance and fleece measurements indicate similarities between the Chalkidiki and Drama Native breeds. Both appear to be broadly of generalized medium fleece type, the ancient fine wool that from textile remains can be traced back to about 500 B.C. in the Near East, and which spread through Europe during Roman times (RYDER, 1969). It persists in northern Europe in such breeds as the Shetland.
Performance. Production is for milk and meat. According to GEORGIOU (1960) and MASON the exploitable yield of milk is 112–145 kg; the weight of lambs at birth 3–4 kg, at 2 months 16 kg, and at 3 months, 20 kg (data from sheep kept at the Chalkidiki Farm Station).
Reproduction: ewes do not mate until their second year, and remain fertile until the age of seven or eight years (cf. Drama Native breed, above). The lambing rate was reported to be 120%.
Adaptation. In hardiness, Chalkidiki were reported to be superior to the Greek island breeds (e.g., Chios, Mytilene) but less hardy than the Serrai and the Vlach.
Status. The breed is endangered, having declined steadily since the early 1960's. At the time of the survey (February, 1975) persons with expert knowledge of the Chalkidiki reported that there were about 150 flocks amongest which “pure” Chalkidiki individuals numbered 700–900, including approximately 100 rams. The decline in numbers has been brought about by the general practice of crossbreeding the native sheep with the Serrai and Mytilene in the eastern part of the peninsula, and with Chios in the west (Fig. 6).
The Roumloukion (a common breed) is found throughout the plain of Thessaloniki, and extends northwest to Florina in the mountains near the Yugoslav border (Fig. 5). According to MASON, the colour is usually white, although the head is sometimes black or speckled. He quotes a staple length of 75 mm and a quality of 48s to 50s.
The six sheep sampled at Yannitsa had a speckled, dark tan face and legs (Fig. 15d), and at least one animal had tan fibres in the fleece which was not as coarse as Zackel wool, but appeared coarser than that of the Serrai owing to “tippiness”. The staple tips were greasy, which is a characteristic of the Merino. Of the samples, four had 1 to 9% of pigmented fibres.
Analysis of fleece samples. The staple length (February) ranged from 70 to 120 mm with a mean of 98 mm. The overall diameter range was from 20 to 144 μm; the modes ranged from 30 to 44 μm with a mean of 34.5 μm and the means ranged from 39.4 to 54.8 μm, with an overall mean of 49.1 μm, which is surprisingly high for a reputedly less coarse fleece. There was also a relatively high proportion of medullated fibres, ranging from 6% to 43% with a mean of 24%. Most diameter distributions were either skew-fine or continuous, i.e., characteristic of a true hairy type, but the sheep with the finest mean diameter had a symmetrical diameter distribution and so was a hairy medium wool.
There were no medullated fibres in the skin samples, but a mean of 22% of the primary follicles, and 3% of the secondaries were inactive. The S/P follicle ratio ranged from 2.3 to 4.5, with a mean of 3.5.
The Thraki, a common breed in western Thrace (Fig. 5), is the Greek name for the Kivircik, the finest-wooled sheep of Turkey, with 50s quality wool. According to MASON (1967), the Kivircik may be derived from the Romanian Tsigai, and coloured individuals of the Thraki are equivalent to the neighbouring Bulgarian Karnobat breed. However, RYDER and STEPHENSON (1968) suggest that the Tsigai originated from the Kivircik during the Turkish occupation. There are mediaeval records in Bulgaria in which the Kivircik is a named breed.
“Kivircik” is Turkish for “curly”, in reference to the coat of the lamb. The face is white, but may have coloured markings, particularly around the eyes, and 10–15% of the sheep are completely coloured (Fig. 15c). MASON (1967) quotes a wool quality of 44s to 56s, and the sheep seen at the Ege University Farm, Menemen, had wool of 54s quality, although the staples had hairy tips.
According to MASON, 10–15% of the sheep are either brown or black, and white sheep may have brown or black markings on the face and legs. MASON stated that there is great variaction in the wool between individuals, from moderately fine to carpet type, and he quotes a mean diameter of 39 μm, a staple length of 138 mm and an S/P follicle ratio of 3.7.
The sheep seen at Yannitsa had either a completely white face, or black eyes and nose, and the wool was coarse and curly, rather than fine.
Analysis of fleece samples. The six fleece samples taken at Yanitsa, Greece ranged from 30 to 150 mm in length, with a mean of 107 mm (February) and all appeared hairy with pointed staple tips. The overall diameter range was from 20 to 116 μm. The modes ranged from 30 to 41 μm, with a mean of 34.8 μm. The mean diameters ranged from 41.8 to 49.1 μm with an overall mean of 44.2 μm. All but one sample had medullated fibres, the proportion ranging from 7% to 31% with a mean (including the zero value) of 19%. Five of the samples had a skewed-to-fine diameter distribution, and were clearly of true hairy fleece type, the sixth was less coarse, and had a symmetrical distribution, so was a hairy medium wool.
Only four of the five sheep had medullated primary fibres, all non-latticed, and the mean proportion was 12%. One sheep had less than 1% of secondary medullation; 11% of the primaries and 1.5% of the secondary follicles were inactive, and the mean S/P follicle ratio had the relatively high value of 4.4 (range 3.6 to 5.3).
The fleece of the six sheep sampled in April at Menemen, Turkey, ranged in length from 40 to 80 mm with a mean of 63 mm. This figure for 11 months' growth appears low compared with a length of 138 mm for a full fleece quoted by MASON.
The main wool fibre diameter range was from 20 to about 60 μm, but five of the six samples had some hairs ranging up to 100 μm making the distribution skewed to fine. Most of the fleeces were therefore of hairy medium type, but one lacking hairs was probably a generalized medium wool. The modes ranged from 30 to 36 μm with a mean mode of 32.5 μm; the mean fibre diameters ranged from 33.1 to 42.9 μm, with an overall mean of 38.0 μm. This was comparable with that of the more hairy Dağliç (see below) and also with the figure of 39 μm quoted by MASON. However, the Kivircik had fewer hairy fibres, the range being from 1% to 12% with a mean of 5%, all animals having some medullated fibres.
The skin samples showed that four of the sheep had primary fibres with a non-latticed medulla; the maximum percentage was 27 and the overall mean 11% (including zero values); 2% of the primary follicles and 2% of the secondaries were inactive. The secondary/primary follicle ratio had the relatively high mean value of 5.1 (range 4.5 to 6.8) which is in keeping with the relatively finer fleece of this breed. This is much greater than the value of 3.7 quoted by MASON, but even if the unusually high individual value of 6.8 is excluded, the mean is still as high as 4.8.
Around the city of Argos in the Peloponnese of the Greek mainland (Fig. 5) is a semi-fat-tailed breed of the same name resulting from a comparatively recent cross between the Zackel and fat-tailed sheep from either Chios or Turkey (GEORGIOU, 1961; MASON, 1967). The flock visited at Koclas, near Argos, was described as “Karamaniko” by the shepherd. This name is used generally in Greece for fat-tailed sheep (which probably originated from the Turkish Dağliç breed) (MASON, 1967, p. 139), so there is no reason to believe that the sheep were not in fact of the Argos breed. Throughout the year the sheep are taken to graze in the fallow fields and in the orange groves of the area. The flocks average about 100 head of pure and crossbred sheep, with a ram-to-ewe ratio of approximately 1:33.
Description. The height of the one ram measured was 78 cm, and of the three ewes, 68, 70, and 71 cm. The colour is white, with black spots on the eyes, nose, and legs (Fig. 16c). No black or brown Argos were seen. Ears are horizontal and of medium size. The muzzle is slightly arched. The belly and legs are bare. The distinctive characteristic of the breed is its funnel-shaped tail (Fig. 16d).
Analysis of fleece samples. Five fleece samples were taken in February and these were on the whole very kempy. The staple length ranged from 150 to 220 mm with a mean of 190 mm. The overall diameter range was from 18 to 182 μm. The modes ranged from 30 to 34 μm, with a mean of 32 μm. The mean diameters were high, ranging from 39.9 μm to 59.9 μm with an overall mean of 50.3 μm. Each sample had medullated fibres, the proportion ranging from 25% to 36% with a mean of 29%. Four of the fleeces had 5% or 6% of pigmented fibres, the mean (including the zero value) being 4.4%.
Performance. The greater part of income is derived from the sale of milk to local cheese factories. Ewes are milked every month of the year except July, yielding 100–200 kg. The quality of the meat (from slaughter lambs) is diminished by the large amount of fat in the tail. Valch-Argos crossbred lambs are much leaner, and demand a better market price.
Reproduction: ewes mate at eight months to one year; the lambing rate was reported to be 150%, with many ewes lambing twice a year.
Adaptation. The breed is well adapted to its environment of hot summers and cool winters. A relatively thrifty eater, it maintains good condition with little supplemental feed.
Status. The status is indeterminate; data for numbers and trend are few. At the time of the survey (February, 1975) the total number of pure, mature Argos in the plain of Argolis was estimated to be 250–1 000, including 15–20 rams. We were told that as recently as the mid-1960's there were in the area about 1 500 pure Argos, of which 45 were rams. Apparently since then there has been a decline, chiefly the result of the now common practice of crossing the breed with the Vlach. More recently, the East' Friesian and the Chios are popular breeds for crossing.
GEORGIOU (1960) states that the Argos was imported into Tegea (near Tripolis) “long ago”. How many are there today is not known.
The Chios, a common breed, from the Greek island of the same name (Fig. 5), is kept in Turkey as the Sakiz, and examples were seen in both countries (Fig. 16a). This semi-fat-tailed type is a fertile breed, and MASON quotes a litter size of 1.8.
MASON (1967) considered that the suggested origin from a cross between the Greek Zackel and the Turkish fat-tailed Karaman could not account for the medium quality fleece, and he favoured derivation from a cross between the Turkish Kivircik (finer wool) and Dağliç (fat-tailed) breeds. This is the same origin as the Turkish Kamakuyruk breed of the same area.
Between 1961 and 1971 the number on the island decreased from about 5 600 to 4 500 (NATIONAL STATISTICAL SERVICE OF GREECE, 1963, 1974). However, because of its exceptional reproductive characteristics (ZERVAS ET AL., 1975, cite a lambing rate of 172) and its milking quality, the Chios is now in demand by owners for crossing with other varieties of sheep on the mainland as well as on other Aegean islands, and it now numbers 134 000 in Greece.
Analysis of fleece samples. According to MASON, the fleece is of medium quality (50s–56s) with a staple length of 80mm. This length accords with figures reported by RYDER (1974) along with a mean diameter of about 27 μm. The diameter distributions were either true medium, or hairy medium, although there were no more than four percent medullated fibres.
The wool of the five Chios sheep sampled at Yannitsa Animal Breeding Experimental Station was coarser than that of the Skopelos breed, being more comparable with that of the Scottish Cheviot than the Down type, although one had a wave like that in the Border Leicester breed, and another was more hairy, although lacking in kemp.
The staple length ranged from 100 to 180 mm with a mean of 132 mm. The mean diameter was 42.7 μm (range 36.6 to 46.7 μm). The mean mode was 39.6 μm (range 34 to 44 μm). The overall diameter range was from 20 to 110 μm, which was found in one hairy individual. The diameter distribution was either symmetrical in the three sheep with medium fleece types, or skew-fine/continuous in the hairy sheep and the one with a hairy medium fleece. Three individuals had medullated fibres, the proportion ranging up to 19 percent in the hairy animal, with an overal mean of 5.2 percent.
The skin samples indicated a secondary-primary follicle ratio of 3.5 (range 3.3 to 3.8) with 3 percent of the primary follicles and 2 percent of the secondaries inactive (in December).
In Turkey most of the Sakiz are in a narrow zone towards the end of the Erythraean peninsula opposite Chios (Fig. 5), and its numbers have declined from about 5 000 in recent years to 900. Small numbers of the breed are found also east of Izmir (in the area of Manisa), and on the Mediterranean coastin the Province of Icel (E. DENIZ, personal communication). In one small flock visited near Çeşme, the litter size at lambing was 2.8 and at weaning 2.3. There the main product is milk, with the daily yield reported to be 3 kg.
The Sakiz samples were much coarser than the Chios wool; four of the six samples were very kempy, one had hair instead of kemp, and only one had a denser, more woolly, fleece. The staple lengths ranged from 55 to 105 mm with a mean of 79 mm.
The overall fibre diameter range was from 14 to 180 μm, the modes ranged from 22 to 26 μm with a mean mode of 24.3 μm. The mean diameters ranged from 31.8 μm to 48.5 μm giving an overall mean for the breed of 40.9 μm. Each animal had a skew-fine/continuous fibre diameter distribution, and the fleece was of true hairy type. Every animal had medullated fibres with the incidence ranging from 5 percent to 23 percent, giving a mean of 16.3 percent. One animal had 10 percent of pigmented fibres, giving an overall mean of 1.7 percent pigmented fibres for the group of sheep.
The local Ödemiş breed, not listed by MASON (1967) but described by SÖNMEZ (1966) was seen near Ödemiş in the Küçük Menderes valley (Fig. 5) and at Ege University farm. The breed is kept in flocks of 100–150 animals. During the summer the sheep graze in open pasture and on the stubble of wheat and barley fields, and during the winter in the local fruit (commonly, fig) orchards, with supplemental feed (cottonseed, barley meal, and hay) at the stall.
Description. Height: the one ram measured 76cm; five ewes ranged from 55 to 71 cm with a mean of 65.6 cm. It is a mostly polled, fat-tailed breed with lop ears (Fig. 16e, f). One flock had brown, and the other, black faces. The tail is short, broad, and twisted. There are no clear indications of the origin of this breed, although a cross between the Dağliç, and a fine wooled breed is a possibility.
The fleece appeared variable, some animals had a double coat reminiscent of that of “hair” sheep with a coarse, brittle, outer coat, and fine underwool. Others apparently had a generalized medium type of fleece comparable with the Chalkidiki of Greece.
Analysis of fleece samples. The five animals sampled at Ege had staple lengths ranging from 30 to 50 mm with a mean of 37 mm. The two at Ödemiş had obviously not yet been shorn and had fleeces 95 to 145 mm in length. The overall diameter range was from 12 μm to 136 μm, the modes from 20 to 30 μm with a mean of 22.8 μm and the means from 32.6 μm to 42.2 μm with an overall mean of 36.8 μm.
One animal had a skew-fine diameter distribution and was of hairy medium type; the remainder had a continuous distribution, and so were true hairy fleeces. Every animal had medullated fibres, the incidence ranging from 2 percent with a mean of 17 percent. Three animals had pigmented fibres, the maximum proportion being 20 percent and the overall mean 4 percent.
Skin samples were obtained from the five animals at Ege and in these a mean of 62 percent of the primaries and 23 percent of the secondaries were inactive. Two animals had some primary fibres with a non-latticed medulla, the overall mean being 3.4 percent. The S/P follicle ratio ranged from 3.6 to 5.2, giving a mean of 4.5/1. This is a relatively high figure for a hairy breed, and is the same as that of the Sakiz.
Performance. About 70–80 percent of income is from meat - lambs for slaughter sold at 3 1/2–4 months and 25–30 kg. Milk provides 20–30 percent of income; the exploitable yield for four months was reported to be about 40 kg. Reproduction: ewes lamb once per year; the lambing rate was reported to be 200 percent with 90 percent survival to weaning.
Adaptation. Owners reported the breed to be hardy (“about equal to the Kivircik”), and in contrast to other breeds in the area, to have a natural resistance to the toxicity of the kanyasi plant.
Status. The breed is not threatened. It was estimated at the time of the survey (April, 1975) that the Ödemiş numbered 30 000–35 000.
The Dağliç, a common fat-tailed breed, is located in the area between the range of the thin-tailed Kivircik of north-west Turkey and the fat-tailed Karaman of central Anatolia (Fig. 5). It has been suggested that the Dağliç originated from a cross between these two breeds, but this is unlikely because this cross has a tail unlike that of the Dağliç, and the horns of the Dağliç are heavier, instead of being intermediate. There is also evidence that the Dağliç was present in western Anatolia before the Kivircik spread there from Thrace.
The animals are usually white, with black or grey spots on the head and legs. Although of carpet type, the wool is lustrous (Fig. 16b). Ten ewes were fleece and skin sampled at the State Farm at Acipayam and, although mostly having a hairy tip, the wool appeared finer than the 46s–48s quoted by MASON. There was a range of variation from less “tippy” finer fleeces to coarser ones with fine kemps.
Analysis of fleece samples. The samples ranged in length from 100 to 165 mm with a mean of 136 mm (April samples - shearing date June). This compares with 116 mm quoted by MASON (1967). There was a similar range of wool fibre diameter from a fleece with a range of 18 to 60 μm to one ranging from 16 to 154 μm (the smallest diameter was 10 μm). The most frequent diameters ranged from 18 to 32 μm with a mean of 24.2 μm. The mean fibre diameters ranged from 33.6 μm to 42.9 μm with an overall mean diameter of 37.4 μm which compares with a figure of 36 μm quoted by MASON. Half of the fleeces with hairy fibres no coarser than 80 μm in diameter, and a skewed-to-fine distribution, were regarded as hairy medium wools, while the remainder, with more and coarser hairs, and a more continuous diameter distribution, were identified as true hairy types. All the samples had medullated fibres, the proportion ranging from 7 percent to 38 percent with a mean of 18 percent.
The only medullation in the skin was non-latticed, and only four sheep had medullation, the proportion of medullated primaries ranging up to 30 percent, with an overall mean of 6 percent (including zero values). This discrepancy from the fleece observations accords with the time of sampling at the end of winter, before spring regrowth had commenced; 27 percent of the primaries, and 17 percent of the secondary follicles were inactive. The secondary/primary follicle ratio ranged from 2.7 to 5.0 with a mean of 4.0, which compares with the value of 4.9 quoted by MASON.