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An English breed of sheep, belonging to the "Downs" group that also includes Shropshire's, Hampshire's, Oxford's and Suffolk's - the Southdown is the smallest and oldest of these breeds (weighing about 135-155 pounds when fully mature) and for centuries supplied the country with lamb and mutton and also wool - which was exported to the looms of Flanders and Italy and the worsted mills of Britain itself.
Oxfords are the largest of the group, coming in at over 230 pounds. The breeds are popular in the U.S.A producing meat of much better quality and less dryness than Spanish "Merino" sheep (more suitable for producing wool in hard conditions), reared by the early settlers.
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