Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS)

Proud of our Native Breeds

The UK has one of the richest native FAnGR populations in the world with over 200 breeds identified, they have shaped our land and traditions and have supported rural communities for hundreds of years. Some of our oldest breeds include:

The Exmoor Pony - first written records of ponies on Exmoor are within the Doomsday Book (11th century) when Exmoor was designated a Royal Forest. Exmoor Ponies have a distinct jaw structure, which offers the development of a 7th molar. No other living horse breed has this feature.

The Sussex Cow – originally a draught breed noted for their working abilities and hardy constitution, they were selectively bred from the late 18th century to form a modern beef breed.

The Berkshire Pig – one of the earliest records of this breed comes from the 17th century when troops stationed in Reading made reference to a locally bred pig renowned for its size and the quality of its bacon and ham.

The Bagot Goat - the first recorded account of the breed appears in historical documents from 1389, when Sir John Bagot was known to be the keeper of the original herd in Staffordshire.

The Dorking Chicken – thought to be descended from original birds brought to Britain by the Romans, the Dorking has always been prized for its flesh and eating qualities.

The Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep – believed to be one of the oldest British sheep breeds, with origins dating back to the 1st century. It was further developed in the Middle Ages, where the cloth trade called for more white fleece.

Our native breeds have contributed to our natural and cultural heritage. Indeed, some of our native breeds have a long and proud tradition of serving in Britain's Armed Forces as ceremonial mascots, for example;

  • The Parachute Regiment – Shetland pony, currently Lance Corporal Pegasus V.
  • 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards – Welsh Mountain Pony, currently Trooper Emrys Forlan Jones.
  • The Royal Regiment of Scotland - Shetland pony, currently Lance CorporalCruachan.
  • The Mercian Regiment - A Swaledale Ram, currently Lance Corporal Derby.