Navajo-Churro sheep are descended from the Churra, an ancient Iberian breed. Although secondary to the Merino, the Churra (later corrupted to "Churro" by American frontiersmen) was prized by the Spanish for its remarkable hardiness, adaptability and fecundity. The Churra was the very first breed of domesticated sheep in the New World. Its importation to New Spain by the Spanish dates back to the 16th century where it was used to feed and clothe the armies of the conquistadors and Spanish settlers.
These sheep with their long staple of protective top coat and soft undercoat are well suited to extremes of climate. The Navajo-Churro is highly resistant to disease, and although they respond to individual attention, they need NO pampering to survive and prosper. The flavor of the meat is incomparably superior, with a surprisingly low fat content
Because the Navajo-Churro is so colorful, so adaptable and produce a superb coarse wool, the limited population is highly prized by U.S. sheep breeders and artisans. The yarn is extremely durable for use in rugs, saddle blankets, cinches, carrying bags and outer garments.
Navajo-Churro sheep are coarse, long wooled sheep for use as wool, meat and dairy animals. They come in all colors from white through every shade of the natural tones. An unimproved breed, they are frequently long legged with narrow bodies and show little inclination to put on fat. The sheep should have sound legs and straight top line, which tends to slope to the dock in more primitive individuals. They can be horned or polled with little wool on the poll and none on the cheeks, around or below the eyes or on the nose. The belly should have little or no wool. There should be no wool on the front or back legs.
Mature ewes — approximately 85-120 pounds
Mature rams — approximately 120-175 pounds
The wool is classified as coarse and is composed of three distinct types of fiber. The fleece is open and has no defined crimp. The inner coat measures 3-5” ranging from 10-35 microns and makes up 80% of the fleece. The outer coat measures 6-12” measuring 35+ microns and makes up 10-20% of the fleece. The otter coat is responsible for the drapy appearance of the animals. The third fiber is kemp and cannot exceed 5% of the fleece. The fleece is high yielding with low grease content.
Animals can be horned or polled in either sex. Multiple horns (2-6) are not uncommon