Fat-Tailed Sheep

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

fat-tailed sheep an important breed, seem to have come into existence around the 4th millennium bc. The earliest depiction of a fat-tailed sheep is on an Uruk III stone vessel of 3000 BC and fat- and thin-tailed sheep appear together on a mosaic standard from Ur dated around 2400 bc. The fact that fat-tails are now universal in the Fertile Crescent, where sheep were originally domesticated, while thin-tailed sheep predominate in peripheral areas—Europe, W. Africa, S. India, Tibet—suggests that the first domesticated sheep were thin tailed and the fat tail was a later development.