The Gotland sheep originates from a native landrace sheep on the island of Gotland. Through selection and controlled breeding for size and furskin quality, started in the 1920’s, the Gotland sheep has developed to a multipurpose sheep, yielding both good flavoured meat and high quality furskins. The Gotland sheep is a medium sized sheep, well adapted to graze also extensive pastures thus contributing to Scandinavian landscape preservation. The breed is now common not only on Gotland but also on the mainland of Sweden.
The adult Gotland sheep are grey. The heads and bones are black, free from wool, sometimes with white markings. Large white markings are not desired. The tail is short, free from wool at the tip. Gotlands are fine-boned with a graceful head. Hornless. Ewes generally weigh from 55 to 90 kg. Rams are heavier, weighing from 80 to 120 kg.
Gotlands are active and friendly sheep, easy to tame. Grazing Gotlands are often more spread out on pastures than other breeds. They still have a pronounced flock instinct and work well with sheep dogs.
The lambs are born in the spring. The ewes are easy to lamb, prolific, and very motherly. From two years of age they normally give birth to twins, triplets are not uncommon though. The lambs are born black but gradually change to grey of different shades throughout summer. Characteristic for the Gotlands is the long, lustrous grey fleece, in shades of dark to light silver grey. The curls are clearly defined and very soft to the touch.