Sheep breeds

Brebis Texel - Crédit : OSON
Brebis Texel - Crédit : OSON
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

This Dutch breed was introduced to France in 1933, and then became the focus of a specific breeding program, which resulted in the "French Texel" appellation.

The Texel has developed primarily in north-eastern France before spreading to central and western-central parts of the country. This grass-fed breed is well-suited to temperate climates, under free-range management with lambing in the spring.

It has a low herd instinct, which allows optimal pasture management, most often in conjunction with dairy cattle. The Texel is characterized by one of the best prolificacy rates and good suckling abilities, which produces a high growth rate in lambs.

Purebred Texel lambs produce heavy, well-formed carcasses without excess fat and a high carcass yield. Almost all Texel ewes are managed as purebreds, while rams are commonly used for crossbreeding with grass-fed or hardy breeds to bring better conformation in the lambs.

The Texel’s excellent meat production qualities has enabled France to begin exporting this breed to other European countries (Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, central Europe, the United Kingdom, Spain), as well as to other continents (including South-Africa and Brazil, for instance).


For the purebreeding, the goal is to obtain bloodlines characterized by improved performance in both maternal traits (prolificacy, suckling abilities) and meat production traits (growth rate, development, conformation, carcass quality, etc.).

The breeding program is based on on-farm performance recording. The resulting young rams are tested through individual on-station testing. The 12 best rams are progeny tested in order to single out improver rams to be used for the breed (planned mating) and propagated by artificial insemination.


Key figures

  • 200,000 ewes
  • 35 flocks under official performance recording system
  • 3,882 ewes under on-farm official performance recording system
  • 7,103 artificial inseminations
  • Adult ewe weight:
    80 to 90 kg
  • Adult ram weight:
    115 to 130 kg
  • Prolificacy after natural estrus: 1.9
  • 30-day weight (singleton male): 16.8 kg
  • 70-day weight (singleton male): 30.3 kg
  • Average Daily Gain 30-70 days (singleton male): 333 g

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