Sheep breeds

Brebis Charmoises - Crédit : DR
Brebis Charmoises - Crédit : DR
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

Resulting from various crossbreeding programs undertaken in central France at the end of the 19th century, the Charmoise is now found primarily in central western France as well as in south-western regions.

With a reputation for needing little care and the ability to make use of all forage types with a minimum of outside intervention, the Charmoise is particularly well-adapted to difficult environments.

Most often bred in free-range systems, the ewes generally lamb in spring, although a natural capacity for out-of-season lambing produces a significant percentage of autumn lambings.

The moderate growth rate of the Charmoise is an asset: lambs born in spring are suckled, and then turned out to pasture after weaning to be finished; this takes place after the summer dry period on autumn regrowth and without complementary feed.

Their ability to fatten on grass, or with little need for supplementary food, enables production of carcasses of a decent weight, with the coloration characteristics of young meat despite its age, and at low production costs.

Charmoise rams are regularly crossbred with hardy breeds for their exceptional conformation, and with primiparous ewes for their fine bone structure which ensures easy lambing.


The main breeding objectives are to improve the breed’s carcass value (animal conformation) while preserving the hardiness and capacity for grass-feed management that characterize the Charmoise. Scrapie resistance is also one of the program criteria.

To ensure the success of the breeding program, the Charmoise breed section of the GEODE Selection Organization makes use of performance recording carried out in the selection flocks. The individual on-station testing center then gathers the best young rams from each farm. Once individual testing is complete, the best rams are collectively propagated as artificial insemination stock sires.


Key figures

  • 8,000 ewes
  • 20 flocks under official performance recording system
  • 2,405 ewes under on-farm official performance recording system
  • 45 animal inseminations
  • Adult ewe weight:
    50 to 80 kg
  • Adult ram weight:
    80 to 100 kg
  • Prolificacy after natural estrus: 1.1
  • 30-day weight (singleton male): 10.6 kg
  • 70-day weight (singleton male): 19.3 kg
  • Average Daily Gain 30-70 days (singleton male): 220 g

Results of on-farm performance recording system 2014 - Institut de l’Elevage & Races de France