The Karakul sheep is a type of fat-tailed sheep, common to the African and Asian Continents, but considered a rare breed here in the US and Canada. This wool has many unique qualities. The breed has a dominant gene causing a high percentage of the sheep to be born with black fleece. This is a desert animal (originally) that stores fat in it's tail for nourishment in lean times. karakul is a very hardy and adaptable breed that produces lustrous fiber with intricately patterned curls in the fleece. The history of the Karakul breed is rich with sustainability and legendary trade accounts all over china. Their exotic fleece, intelligence, hardiness, common-sense instincts, beauty, and independence is unparalleled by any other breed of sheep.
The Karakul is possibly the oldest breed of domesticated sheep. Named after the village in central Asia, Karakuls were first introduced to the United States between 1908 and 1929. Most Karakul sheep are born coal black with lustrous wavy curls, with the face, ears, and legs usually showing smooth silky sleek hair. As the lamb matures the curly locks open and become more wavy. Within the first year the fleece color will evolve into one or a combination of the following: Silver blue, grey, golden tan, reddish brown, white with flecks of other colors, and occasionally pure white. The most common is a simple brown or bluish grey. As the animal ages the fleece will become more grey.
Karakuls have a double coat, a fine downy undercoat covered by a coat of guard hairs. The glossy silky fibers remain that as the animal matures. There is a great variability in the fleece types of both coats, ranging from coarse 'horse tail' to silky soft. This fiber is long-stapled 6--12 inches which is easily spun. The fibers are long and lustrous with no crimp. Superior carpet yarn used for rugs, saddle blankets, and outer garments are best produced from Karakul Wool. Karakul also has excellent felting abilities. Treat yourself to this rare, beautiful fiber.