Sheep breeds

Bélier Limousin - Crédit : DR
Bélier Limousin - Crédit : DR
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

Originating from northern part of the Massif Central, the Millevaches plateau in particular, the Limousin breed has developed a high degree of hardiness in this area characterized by a harsh and varied climate, high rainfall in winter, dry summers and light acidic soils.

Its resistance and adaptability explain its success in mid-range mountain areas (northern Massif Central, western Vosges) or in hot, dry areas (Aude, eastern Pyrenees).

Ewes offer high prolificacy, good suckling abilities, and are fairly adaptable to out-of-season lambing, which makes them able to lamb four times in three years. Production of grass-fed lambs as well as of sheepfold lambs is therefore regularly spaced out over the course of the year.

Crossbreeding with specialized meat-breed rams is regularly implemented to improve lamb conformation, while making use of the maternal qualities of the mothers.


The prioritized objective of the Limousin breeding program is to improve the maternal qualities of ewes (suckling abilities, prolificacy), which represent the great assets of the breed. Scrapie resistance is also tested.


Key figures

  • 25,000 ewes
  • 31 flocks under official performance recording system
  • 7,410 ewes under on-farm official performance recording system
  • 751 artificial inseminations
  • Adult ewe weight:
    60 to 80 kg
  • Adult ram weight:
    80 to 120 kg
  • Prolificacy after natural estrus: 1.4
  • 30-day weight (singleton male): 12.3 kg

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