History of the Breed

The development of the breed began in the late 1950's with the importation of a small number of wool-less sheep from the Caribbean by Michael Piel, of Maine, U.S.A. The Piel farm had several thousand sheep at the time, and Piel felt that " progress in the selection of meat would be greatly enhanced by the elimination of wool as a major factor in selection".

His goal was to combine the shedding coat, prolificacy and the hardiness of the Virgin Island sheep, with the meat, conformation and rate of growth of the wooled breeds.

He began to experiment with crosses between the wool-less sheep and various British breeds, especially the Suffolk.

After almost 20 years of cross breeding, the resulting hybrids "in every conceivable combination", Piel selected those individuals with the desired combination of traits.  He eventually collected a flock of ewes he named "Katahdin" after Mount Katahdin in Maine. 

During the mid 1970's, the Wiltshire Horned Sheep, another shedding breed from England was incorporated into the flock in order to add size, and improve carcass quality even further.

Since the late 1980's, the Canadian objective has been to further enhance size, growth rate, and carcass quality, through selective breeding practices, which proved to be effective.

The Canadian bred Katahdin has attained this level of consistent quality through the standards which have been set up in the CKSA bylaws.


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