Manx Loaghtan

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The Manx Loaghtan is a breed of sheep (Ovis aries) native to the Isle of Man. It is sometimes spelled as Loaghtyn or Loghtan. The sheep have dark brown wool and usually four or occasionally six horns.

The Manx Loaghtan is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds and descends from the primitive sheep once found throughout Scotland, the Hebrides, and Shetland Islands. The word Loaghtan comes from the Manx words lugh dhoan, which mean mouse-brown and describes the colour of the sheep. This breed is primarily raised for its meat, which some consider a delicacy. The meat has recently received EU recognition and protection under the Protected Designation of Origin scheme, which requires products to originate in a specific region.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust has characterized the Loaghatan as “at risk”. By the 1950s there were only 43 surviving specimens. Manx National Heritage developed two healthy flocks. These have given rise to commercial flocks on the Isle of Man and elsewhere. Even so, today there are still fewer than 1,500 registered breeding females in the United Kingdom.

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