The Cheviot Hills, from which this breed of sheep gets its name, form the border line between England and Scotland. The Cheviot Sheep Society was formed in 1890 and is one of the oldest sheep societies in existence.
The Cheviot originated in the Cheviot Hills, on the border of England and Scotland. Recognized as a hardy sheep as early as 1372, Cheviots did well in those bleak, windswept conditions, with their strong constitution, easy lambing, well developed mothering instinct, and fast maturity. The Cheviot ewe can be found grazing up to 3,000 feet and is expected to live off the hill throughout the year.
The ewe has fine hard white hair on her face, over the crown and on her legs which should have a fine, flat quality bone. It is a very alert, active sheep, with a stylish, lively carriage. The fleece should be dense and firm with no kemp or coloured hair. The rams can have horns.
The main purpose of the breed is the production of quality lamb. The draft ewes were originally crossed with the Border Leicester to produce the famous Scottish Half-bred; now the Bluefaced Leicester is also used to produce the 'Cheviot Mule'. These crosses when put to a terminal Suffolk or continental sire, produce quality butchers' lambs.
The wool, which was once the base for the Border Tweed industry and could pay the tenants' farm rent, has now declined to be of marginal importance. It is chiefly used in the tweed and carpet industry with a small amount being used in the craft trade.