Animal Husbandry

Complete List of Top Sheep Breeds in India 2024

Updated on 01st April, 2024, By Neesha Rathod
Complete List of Top Sheep Breeds in India 2024
According to the 20th Livestock Census of 2019, the total number of sheep in the country stood at 74.26 million in 2019. The top sheep breeds in India include Nellore Sheep, Deccani Sheep, and Pugal Sheep.

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Sheep are India's second most important ruminant after goats. 42 registered and documented breeds of sheep exist. According to the 20th Livestock Census, the total number of sheep in the country stands at 74.26 million. India is fourth in terms of sheep population and represents about 4.5 % of the global sheep population.

In India, sheep are spread over varied ecological conditions. As a result, a wide range of phenotypes and production-type sheep breeds are found in the country.

Top Sheep Breeds in India 2024

You can find a wide variety of foreign and Indian sheep breeds in our country. In this section, we have discussed the different types of sheep in India. Some of the best sheep breeds in India are listed below:

Nellore Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Nellore Sheep

The Nellore breed is mainly found in the Nellore district and adjoining areas of the Prakasam and Ongole districts of Andhra Pradesh. Three distinguished varieties of Nellore Sheep are found based on colour: Palla, Jodipi, and Dora.

These breeds are primarily reared for meat and are the tallest sheep breed in India. Some of the key characteristic features are:

  • Colour: Completely white, white with brown/black spots on the head, or completely brown.
  • They have very little hair except at wither, brisket, and breech.
  • They have long and drooping ears, and most of the breed carry wattles.
  • The male and female Nellore sheep have an average body weight of 36 kg and 28 kg, respectively.

Chokla Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Chokla Sheep

The Chokla Sheep breed hails mainly from the Churu and Sikar districts of Rajasthan. It is also distributed over the adjoining areas of Nagaur, Bikaner, and Jaipur. These sheep breeds are reared for their wool, used to make fine carpets and their migration quality.

Chokla breed produces the finest carpet wool among all Indian Sheep breeds. Its wool quality number ranges from 54s to 60s count. Some of the key features are:

  • They are light and medium sized.
  • The face does not have wool, and the colour is dark brown or reddish brown.
  • They have tubular ears, and the ear length is small to medium.
  • They have thin tails, and the length is medium.
  • They have relatively fine and dense coats covering the entire body, including the belly.

Deccani Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Deccani Sheep

The Deccani Sheep breed is mainly distributed in the Deccan Plateau, encompassing the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. Four different strains of Deccani Sheep are Sangamneri, Lonand, Kolhapuri, and Solapuri (Sangola).

These sheep breeds are admixture of hairy types of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and woolly types of Rajasthan. Besides, they possess a natural resistance to many common diseases. Some of the key features are:

  • They are small, hardy, and well-settled in poor pastoral conditions.
  • They have coloured fleece, grey and black colours being more dominant.
  • The Deccani sheep breed has an annual yield of wool being 4.54 kg per sheep.
  • They produce low-grade wool and are chiefly used to manufacture rough blankets (Kambals).
  • The flocks of this sheep breed are maintained primarily for mutton.

Garole Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Garole Sheep

The Garole sheep breed is native to the Sunderban region of West Bengal. These sheep are known for their prolificacy and have a high reproduction rate. They are the prolific microsheep of India.

Garole sheep are suitable for hot and humid climates. They are primarily reared for meat, and their wool is used for manufacturing rough carpets. Some of the unique features are:

  • They can breed around the year and are disease resistant.
  • They can graze in knee-deep marshy saline areas.
  • They are small-sized and have low body weight.
  • They have square bodies with small heads, medium ears, and short, thin tails.
  • The average body weight of male and female sheep is 15 kg and 13.7 kg, respectively.

Jaisalmeri Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Jaisalmeri Sheep

These sheep breeds are endemic to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and spread over the neighbouring districts of Barmer and Jodhpur. The Raika Hindus raise them under a migratory and semi-nomadic system.

They can survive extreme heat (up to 50 degrees Celsius) and require minimal water intake. They produce good carpet-type wool, and some of the physical characteristics are:

  • The fleece colour is white, and their face is black.
  • They have long and dropping ears.
  • The horns of the male and female are polled.
  • They have a square build and are deep and tall in appearance.
  • They are one of the heaviest sheep breeds in India, with the average weight of adult rams being 54.15 kg.

Pugal Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Pugal Sheep

The Pugal sheep breed is native to the Bikaner district of Rajasthan. It is mainly distributed over the northwestern arid and semi-arid regions of India. Pugal sheep are known for their excellent mothering ability, hardiness, and adaptability to harsh climate conditions.

Raika Hindus and Meghwals rear pugal sheep breeds for their meat and wool. Their wool is used to manufacture medium-quality carpets. Some of the physical characteristics of Pugal Sheep are:

  • They have black faces with light brown stripes above the eyes.
  • They have a convex forehead and are devoid of wattles.
  • They have tubular ears of small to medium length.

Mecheri Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Mecheri Sheep

Mecheri sheep are native to the Salem and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu. They are also found in Namakkal, Karur, Erode, and a few parts of the Dharampuri districts. Mecheri sheep are known for their skin quality, which is the best among all sheep breeds in India.

The vital physical features are:

  • The Mecheri sheep breed has no horns for both males and females.
  • The average body weight of an adult male is 36 kg.
  • The average body weight of adult females is 22 kg.
  • They have medium-sized bodies and contain pale, purplish skin colour.
  • The tail of this sheep breed is more petite and slenderer.

Mandya Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Mandya Sheep

Mandya Sheep are native to the Mandya district and the border areas of the Mysore district of Karnataka. This breed is best known for its mutton among all Indian sheep breeds.

The key physical features are:

  • They are white, and the face colour is light brown.
  • The horns of male and female Mandya sheep are polled.
  • They have a compact body with typical reversed "u" shaped from the back.
  • They have long, leafy, and drooping ears.
  • Their tail is short and thin, and most sheep carry wattles.

Kendrapada Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Kendrapada Sheep

The Kendrapada Sheep breed is native to the Kendrapada district of Odisha and is distributed in the Konark, Bhadrak, and Puri districts of coastal Odisha.

They are identified for their prolificacy, second only to Garole Sheep. They are the second sheep breed in India to carry the FecB mutation. They are primarily reared for meat.

The key physical features are:

  • The average body weight of the adult Kendrapada sheep breed is about 23 kg.
  • The colour of the coat ranges from dark brown to white.

Gaddi Sheep

Top Sheep Breeds - Gaddi Sheep

Gaddi sheep are native to the Kistwar and Bhadarwah tehsils of Jammu. They are also found in the Udhampur, Ramnagar, Kangra, and Kullu valleys of Himachal Pradesh and the Nainital, Dehradun, and Chamoli districts of Uttarakhand.

Their wool is lustrous and delicate, and the average annual yield is 1.13 kg per sheep. The sheep's undercoat is used to manufacture high-quality Kulu shawls and blankets.

They key physical features are:

  • They are medium sized and generally white.
  • Their tails are small and thin.
  • The male Gaddi sheep have horns, and the female is hornless.


Sheep is an important animal of Livestock Sector in India. They provide livelihood to small and marginal farmers and landless labourers. India is home to 42 sheep breeds, and they are spread over various ecological conditions. Some of the popular sheep breeds are Pugal sheep, Kendrapada sheep, Gaddi sheep, and Mandya sheep, among others.

Visit Tractorkarvan to read about Best Goat Breeds in India.

Frequently Asked Questions on Complete List of Top Sheep Breeds in India 2024

1. How many breeds of sheep are found in India?

42 breeds of sheep are found in India.

The best sheep breed in India is Nellore sheep.

Mandya sheep breed is the best breed for meat.

Chokla sheep is the best breed for wool production.

Neesha Rathod
Published By
Neesha Rathod
Neesha holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a postgraduate degree in Rural Management. With over 10 years of experience in agriculture and the rural sector, she is a quick problem solver. She is inquisitive and has a deep analytics insight into any issues related to agriculture. She loves to travel and explore new places.
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