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Pramenka sheep breed types

Introduction

Pramenka sheep breed types have arisen in quite specific area, the
Balkan peninsula. This region is situated at the cross-roads of the land and sea
routes between the east and the west. It is well known that peaty sheep was present
during the neolithic period in the Balkan area. This type of sheep was long tailed.
Around 3000 BC, the short tailed copper sheep was also present in the region. The
sheep group which is considered to be a descendent of these two and which is an
indigenous breed in the Western Balkan region is called pramenka.

Pramenka characteristics

Sheep’s coarse, open fleece hangs in open locks, from which pramenka breed
derives the name (lock = pramen). All pramenka types are frugal and hardy
animals, adapted to migratory life which keeps them outside all over the year with
poor reserve of supplementary feed. Pramenka sheep strains are late-maturing
(4-5 years of age). Sheep conformation is harmonious, but they may be rather
narrow in the body. The profile of face is straight, sometimes convex among ewes
and usually convex among rams. Generally, rams are horned and ewes are polled.
The face and legs are bare but top-knot may be present. In the past, flock size rarely
exceeded 200 animals; nowadays it ranges from 10 to 50.

Pramenka breed types of Croatia


Istrian sheep
Large pastures in Istria and their quality enabled the development of the most
acceptable breed for this region, the Istrian pramenka, which is one of the biggest
types of pramenka in Croatia. The origin of Istrian sheep is not clear; according to
external look it is presumed that some Italian breeds, especially Bergamo sheep
influenced its evolution. Istrian sheep are harmoniously built, with ram constitution
and longer body. Small number of sheep is polled. Fleece covers the upper part of
the neck and back while the abdomen, legs and face are covered with short hairs.
Istrian sheep belongs to the group of sheep of combined production characteristics
meat milk. Valuation shows that there are 15 000 to 20 000 sheep in Istria and only
4-5% of that is Istrian pramenka. Viewing the disappearance danger this breed is
involved into preservation program of authentic breeds in 1998.
Creska sheep
Creska sheep is bred on the islands of Cres and Lošinj. It is small, enduring,
extremely resistant and adaptable. The ewes are polled, while rams have strong,
firm and prominent horns. The tail reaches beneath the ankle joint so it belongs to
long-tailed group of sheep. It has combined production characteristics, but due to
the fact that the herds were kept on the pastures away from villages, milking was
aggravated, so Cres has never been known for cheese production.
Pashka sheep
It represents our most numerous island sheep population with around
30 000 - 35 000 heads. In the past it was cross-bred with Merino rams, Sardinian
and Awassi sheep. Sheep are predominantly white, but around 2 % are black.
The ewes are polled, while the rams are horned. It is mainly kept extensively.
Most of the breeders have a stable or eaves used as a sheep’s shelter, hay-store and
for milking. It is believed that the exceptional quality of lamb and cheese of Pag is
the result of specific botanical covering which is under direct influence of salt
concentration in the soil.
Lichka sheep
Originates from Lika and Gorski Kotar and is typical for the areas where the
cattle did not prevail. It is extremely resistant and adaptable. Rams have horns,
while the ewes are polled. The sheep breeding in Lika requests renovation and
sheep population has to be protected from the influence of other genotypes. The
body is covered with open fleece of mixed wool and tufts are pointed.
Ruda sheep (Dubrovachka)
It is bred on the Croatian seaside from the Peljeshac peninsula to the border
with Montenegro. The breeding is mainly extensive. Most of the sheep are white,
but some are black. It has big and well developed udder because of the suitable
posture of the rear legs. The front legs have correct posture, while the rear legs
have cow posture. It has fine wool-thread and somewhat larger milk production.