Gute sheep breed

Gute Sheep Breed (Info, Characteristics, Origin, & Uses!)

Spread the love

Sheep can make useful additions to your farm or homestead. However, choosing between breeds can be tough. Are you considering adding the Gute sheep breed to your flock?

Here’s everything you need to know about Gute sheep advantages and disadvantages, characteristics and origins.

Gute sheep breed

Gute Sheep Origins

The Gute, also known as the Gutefår, is a breed of domestic sheep originating on the Swedish island of Gotland. The Gute is part of the Swedish Landrace breed group, which belongs to the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds.

Therefore, the Gute is closely related to Orkney, Faroe, Shetland, Spelsau, Romanov, the Icelandic sheep, the Finnsheep, and other breeds that comprise this group. The Gute is the most primitive in this collection of breeds.

The Gute breed is a direct descendant of the modern Gotland sheep. The name Gute is derived from the first letter of the breed’s place of origin (Gotland), and the Swedish word for outdoor (ute) — sheep breeds native to this region stay outdoors year-round.

Gute Sheep Characteristics

Before you start raising any sheep on your farm, you need to understand the breed’s characteristics to know what to expect. Here are the characteristics of the Gute breed.


When it comes to size, the Gute is considered a medium to large-sized breed. The average body height of a mature ram ranges between 64 and 84 cm. For the ewes, the average body height is between 65 and 71 cm.

The average Gute ewe weighs around 45-60 kg. As you might expect, the rams are significantly bigger than the ewes, coming in at 70-100 kg. The exact size will depend on several factors, including the quality of feed and the environment they are raised.


The Gute breed comes in a wide range of colours, with grey being the most common. The animals can be light grey or dark grey. The light grey sheep have white and tan hair on their head and legs, while their dark grey counterparts have black heads and legs.

Black sheep are also common within this breed, usually with white markings on different parts of the body. While rare, pure white sheep also occur. In most cases, though, white Gute sheep sport tan patches on the neck and other body parts.


The Gute’s coat is made up of wool, hair, and fibers. Their fleece is coarse and can be straight or wavy. They may have long, thick mane hair on the neck and along the throat, which is more common in rams than ewes.

The Gute don’t grow wool in the face or at the tip of the tail. As one of the few shedding sheep breeds in the world, the Gute’s fleece falls off partly or entirely at the beginning of summer.


Like many other sheep breeds, the Gute have horns. Both rams and ewes are supposed to grow horns. While the rams will always grow long horns, some ewes’ horns never develop beyond the bud stage.

The average horn length for the ewes is 21-43 cm, while Gute rams can have their horns grow up to 90 cm in length. The base of the horns is oval for the ewes and triangular for the rams.

READ ALSO: Do Dorper Sheep Have Horns? (Are They Sharp?)


The Gute are seasonal breeders. This means that the Gute breed can only mate successfully during certain times of the year. The females come into heat around the end of October to early November.

However, the breed has early maturity. Gute rams usually start breeding in their first autumn. The ewes can lamb at the age of 12 months. These animals are recognized for longevity, with healthy Gute ewes lambing until they are 11–12 years old.


The Gute sheep are known to be a tough and hardy breed. The Gute will still produce and flourish under unfavorable conditions.

Gute Sheep Uses

Like many sheep breeds out there, the Gute are a multipurpose breed. As a farmer, you can raise the Gute breed for various uses. Here are some of the uses of the Gute breed.

  • Meat production. The Gute breed has many characteristics that make it ideal for meat production. They are large in size, with rams growing to 100 kg, and mature early. Gute meat fetches a reasonable price in the market. They are also economical and easy to raise.
  • Wool production. The Gute breed can also produce wool but is not specifically bred for this trait. Compared to other breeds, their wool is not highly sought after. They also shed at the beginning of summer.
  • Genetic conservation. This landrace-based sheep breed is raised in Sweden, Denmark, and parts of Germany to prevent it from going extinct. While their numbers have steadily increased over the last few decades, the Gute are still mainly kept for genetic conservation.

Gute Sheep Advantages 

There are many good reasons to raise this particular sheep breed on your farm or homestead. Here are some of the advantages of the Gute breed.

  • Low maintenance. Shearing is one of the most difficult tasks when it comes to raising sheep. The Gute shed their fleece at the beginning of summer. In most cases, no shearing is necessary.
  • Thrifty. Gute is a fairly inexpensive breed to raise on your farm. They don’t have any crazy maintenance demands or dietary requirements.
  • Hardy. The Gute is a tough and hardy breed. They can graze in the fields all year- long like they often are in their native Sweden.
  • Early maturity. Sheep of the Gute breed mature early, allowing farmers to grow their flock faster. The rams can start breeding in their first autumn, with the ewes lambing at 12 months.
  • Long life expectancy. The Gute is a long-lived breed and will keep producing for the better part of their lives. For instance, Gute ewes will continue lambing until they are around 12 years old.

 Gute Sheep Disadvantages 

If you’ve been farming sheep long enough, you know there’s no such thing as the perfect breed. All types of sheep have problems — some more than others — and the Gute are no exception. Here are the potential drawbacks of the Gute breed.

  • Seasonal breeders. The Gute sheep have seasonal limitations when it comes to breeding, with the ewes coming into heat in late October to early November. This can be a problem for farmers who want to grow their flock quickly.
  • Limited uses. As mentioned earlier in the article, the Gute breed is raised primarily for genetic conservation. They can be raised for meat, but that’s about it. The breed can be raised for wool and milk production, but it doesn’t particularly excel at any of those.
  • Tolerance. The Gute breed is native to Sweden and Denmark. There are some Gute flocks in parts of Germany. However, there’s little research on how well they can tolerate the different climates in other parts of the world.


The Gute sheep is a breed of domestic sheep native to the Swedish island of Gotland. They are a hardy, thrifty sheep breed with a high life expectancy. If you want a low-maintenance sheep breed to raise on your farm, the Gute might be the right option.

Valais Blacknose Sheep (Breed Info, Characteristics, Benefits!)

Dorper Sheep Breed (Characteristics, Farming, Pros, and Cons!)

Romney Sheep Breed: Information, Behavior, and Care

Polypay Sheep Breed: Information, Behavior, and Care

Spread the love