Shropshire sheep, mutton breed developed from the native sheep of Shropshire and Staffordshire, England. As early as 1340 there was a grade of wool known as Shropshire, but the breed was not officially recognized until about the middle of the 19th cent. The Shropshire is of medium size, has a dark face, is prolific and fast growing, and produces a good grade of mutton and wool. Because of its adaptability, it has spread widely over the world. It is the most popular breed of English origin in the United States, to which its importation began c.1855.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.