III. Wool

A. Quality, Character, and Uniformity

The Corriedale should carry a heavy, even fleece of bright, lustrous wool, showing good staple length and density, with a well-defined lock, an even tip, a uniform grade (spinning count) throughout and a uniform crimp that corresponds with breed standards. The fleece should be free from hair, kemp, and black or brown fibers. The desired quality is a long staple, bulky 50-58 spinning count (of medium grade, approximately 25 to 31 microns) of even density. A somewhat lower spinning count, especially in a ram, should not be discriminated against provided that it is free from any harshness. In rams, the scrotum should be reasonably covered with wool that is not too course in texture.

Uniformity of Grade: The breeder should strive for the greatest uniformity of fleece possible. The wool known as “belly wool” should not extend above an imaginary line running from the fore flank to rear flank. This may be a moderate to severe fault depending on how high belly wool comes up on the side. Variation in grade from side to britch should be minimal.

Tip: An even tip is desirable. The long pointed tip, except in lambs, is to be avoided.

Crimp: The crimp should be clearly defined and even in character throughout the length of the fiber. It should be of a type and standard in keeping with breed spinning quality. It should be noted, however, that this quality is highly affected by environmental conditions.

Staple: Length of staple of a fleece is the major point in attaining maximum weight of wool. Breeders should strive for the maximum length possible in relation to count, without impairing the density of the fleece, or the meat and milk producing qualities of the sheep.

B. Density

Corriedale fleeces should show a great deal of density without feeling harsh to the touch. A soft fleece is very desirable. Very open fleeces often contain more vegetable matter and shed less water than dense fleeces. Placing too much emphasis on the density can result in reduced staple length and fleeces that are harsh to the touch, however.

C. Covering

Head Covering: The head should have a good covering of wool of similar type to the general fleece. A tendency for the head wool to vary slightly in count is not of great importance: however, weak and wasty wool around the ears or between the ears is a fault. The wool covering the poll and front portion of the head should not contain an excess of nonwool fibers, preferably none at all. This is one of the first places in the fleece where such faults may occur and indicates at least a possibility of similar faults in the main fleece in later generations. The horn depressions should not show an excess of course hair, or show dark or brown coloring. The excessively bare head leads to an eventual loss of wool wight and to weaknesses in the fleece of the breed, if not in the individual, and to the development of a plain, unattractive type of sheep. The other extreme is the wool blind animal. The Corriedale head covering should be somewhere within these broad limits.

Leg Covering: The legs should be free from black or brown coloring in the wool or hair, and as free as possible from kemp. A leg that is well wooled down to the fetlock is preferred.

The qualities of brightness and luster play an important part in the fleece evaluation and in the value of a fleece. Fleeces should be white or creamy white in color. Environmental conditions can temporarily affect fleece color. However, a canary yellow color exists in some Corriedales that has a genetic link and this should be discriminated against.