Hampshire Down flocks were established more than 150 years ago. The breed originated from a three way cross - Wiltshire Horn, Berkshire Knot and Southdown. These flocks were recognised as vital to maintaining fertility on thin downland soils in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Berkshire. Pure Hampshire Down flocks proliferated across the whole of the South of England. Sales were staged at Wilton, Overton, Weyhill and other fairs with up to 20,000 head at each one.
A burgeoning export trade for pure Hampshire Downs was also evolved to the major sheep producing countries.
The breed has developed as a terminal sire over the last 50 years. Hampshire Down sired lambs are early to mature with the ability to reach target finishing weight off forage and grade within the specification.
Progressive Hampshire Down breeders have over the last decade performance recorded and carefully selected for modern traits: fast growth, muscling, conformation, killing out percentage and in particular for reduced back fat.
Breeder collaboration has also been essential to that success together with modern tools including the Signet Sire Reference Scheme (SRS) and CT scanning. Today, almost 70% of its lamb registrations are by Signet recorded rams, the highest volume of any breed association or society. Signet SRS has accelerated the breed’s genetic progress together with an injection of NZ bloodlines.