Like goats, sheep are hardy mid-sized animals that can provide meat, dairy products, and high quality wool. Sheep can graze very close to the ground, taking tough short grass that would be useless for food for any other animal and converting it into valuable protein. However, their efficient grazing does have a dark side, since too many sheep can easily overgraze a landscape and destroy the wild plants of an area.

Like other long-domesticated animals, sheep have been developed into literally hundreds of useful and exhibition breeds. There's some debate about exactly how many rare and heritage breeds remain, but the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN has said that there are more than 1,000 - which gives the sheep fancier plenty of choices.