Australian Merino sheep
More than 80 percent of all Australian sheep are pure Merino, with most of the remainder at least part Merino blood. Merino is grown primarily for its heavy fleeces of fine wool. Although the Australian Merino derives its name and basic appearance from the Spanish breed, it is a distinct breed in its own right, developed and adapted in Australia to the specific conditions of this country. Merino sheep were brought to Australia from the Cape Colony, England, Saxony (South East Germany), France, and America.
The Australian Merino is not a single homogenous breed but a number of strains of sheep all of which, regardless of their origins, are uniquely Australian. The major factor determining the Merino’s development has been the requirement for environmental suitability.