The Canton of Valais in Switzerland is well-known for its breathtaking mountain scenery. But there is one type of cattle that draws visitors here: the Valais Blacknose sheep. This sheep breed has appeared in cartoons and has been dubbed “the world’s cutest sheep.” To be fair, this little creature completely deserves it.
The Valais Blacknose sheep has a distinctive appearance among all sheep breeds. It has shaggy white wool and a furry black face. Quite easy to understand why these animals got the status as the world’s cutest sheep. Just look at them, they are no different from living stuffed toys. And what’s more, they are quite friendly and sociable with humans, unlike other sheep breeds. Normally, if you try to approach a sheep, it’ll definitely run away once it spotted you.
The Valais Blacknose sheep find their origin in the mountains of Switzerland. To adapt to the harsh Alpine weather, they have developed a thick curly wool coat. In the past, they were domesticated for both meat and wool, but now people raise them to collect wool only. After hundred years of adapting to extreme weather, their wool is especially tough and durable, making it perfect for shoes.
This species is now widespread all over the world. With a calm and friendly nature, it’s no strange when some families adopt this sheep as a pet, like a dog or a cat. And, in fact, there is a case when an animal lover adopts a blacknose mistakenly, as it looks like a shaggy white dog.
Back home in Switzerland, near Zermatt, the annual Shepherd Festival here features a ‘Most Beautiful Sheep’ category. Around 500 Blacknose sheep will be assessed based on the whiteness of the wool, their physical stature, the shape of their horns, etc. The event attracts thousands of international visitors to this region every year.
In the Valais Canton region, the Valais Blacknose has become an icon. People here even adopt the cartoon Blacknose sheep – Wolli – as the local mascot. Visitors can find him in many events throughout the years, especially the ones for children. So next time you visit Valais, Switzerland, we hope that you’ll have a chance to meet the world’s cutest sheep.