New to livestock farming or want to keep a new breed?

With so many different choices, it can be difficult to pick the right one for you. We partnered with Farmers Guardian to look at the options.



The Jacob is a prolific breed with easy lambing qualities and the ability to have high lambing percentages. This means the breed is suited to novices, or those who are short for time and labour. Jacobs make good mothers and can produce sufficient milk without the need to resort to supplementary feeding. The breed is less prone to foot issues than others and is easily out-wintered in all conditions. Discover more about Jacob Sheep.


The Ryeland is known for producing excellent quality lamb and is sought after by wool makers seeking quality yarns. The breed is relatively docile and good to handle. Requiring little or no additional feed when kept at grass, the Ryeland is ideal for those wanting to venture into organic lamb production. Coloured Ryelands are also a popular choice for showing. Discover more about Ryeland Sheep.


This long-wool sheep combines sound lambing and mothering abilities with the presence of a distinctive and attractive sheep. The Wensleydale fleece is known for being the most valuable lustre long-wool and is desired by many hand spinners and weavers.

Currently recognised as at risk by the Rare Breed Survival Trust, the breed relies on small breeding flocks to maintain numbers. Ideal for those wanting small numbers of a unique rare breed. Discover more about Wensleydale Sheep.



Reliable and efficient, the Galloway can thrive on low cost winter rations and rough grazing sites during summer. The breed has become a popular replacement for sheep on upland farms and is generally low maintenance. A good crossing cow, the Galloway lends itself to several uses, including beef production and showring success. The breed is naturally polled, eliminating the need for dehorning. Ideal for the smallholder with poorer quality grazing looking for an easy-care herd. Discover more about Galloway Cattle.


As the smallest of the British breeds, the Dexter has two distinguished types, the shortlegged and non-short. The breed is early maturing and popular with farm shops and market suppliers due to its flavour and small joints, meaning minimal waste. If using Dexter cows for crossing purposes, ensuring the choice bull has easy calving figures is essential. It is a dual-purpose breed which can adapt to most farm systems. Discover more about Dexter Cattle.


The famous Highland is one of Britain’s most distinctive livestock breeds, which has remained largely unchanged throughout history. Bred to survive on vast areas of open mountain, the Highland can thrive and breed in an environment in which other cattle would struggle. Both hardy and striking on the eye, the breed can be farmed in most systems, but can equally excel in rare-breed show classes. Highland cows can produce more than a dozen calves in a lifetime and pure Highland beef can command a significant premium when sold at specialist outlets. Discover more about Highland Cattle.


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