The Border Leicester is the largest indigenous breed in the British Isles and the purebred is popular with adults and children alike as a show animal due to its attractive characteristics and elegant presence.
As a pedigree animal the Border Leicester lends itself to all farming systems, whether commercially producing large quantities of halfbred females or for those wishing to produce their own replacements and butchers lambs from a small flock. This versatility allows farming systems of all sizes to market a quality product, whether marketing breeding stock for the commercial farmer or producing quality meat for niche markets and the butchers trade.
Perhaps the best description of the Border Leicester breed can most easily be given from the detailed account of a shearling ram at 18months old. He will stand about 81cm at the shoulder, and will measure about 102cm from the crown on the head to tail. He has a wide level back, well and evenly fleshed that is firm under the hand, well sprung ribs, with a level underline.
The head is important, and indicated the presence or absence of the robustness of constitution, and the ability to grow and mature rapidly. The head should be thoroughly masculine with a well developed muzzle, and the nostrils should be wide and black. The eye shoud be clear, bold and dark, the crown smooth and clear of wool, the ears should be of a good length carried at an alert angle and covered with hair. Teeth should be regular and meet the pad, neither undershot or overshot.
The neck, tapering nicely from the head, should be strongly set at the shoulders, and the back should be long, level and well fleshed. The gigot should be well filled.
The legs must be squarely set under the body, strong with clean flat bones, covered with white hair and free from wool. The feet should be sound and dark in colour.
The whole body should be evenly covered with white wool of even quailty densely planted. Hair on the legs and head should be clean and white, while distinct black spots are acceptable, brown hair is undesirable.
If the ram has all these desirable characteristics he will be evenly balanced, be able to move freely, and carry himself with style.