Charmoise are classified as ‘race rustique‘, or hardy breed in France and are a genuine hill sheep.
The Charmoise breed are one which has become increasingly popular within the UK in recent years. A firm favourite with welsh hill farms they are often bred in free-range systems and smallholdings primarily because of their reputation for needing little care and the ability to make use of all forage types with a minimum of outside intervention.
A medium-sized hill breed, famously known as a reared on grass breed without the need for cake or concentrate. Charmoise sheep are polled, white faced and white legged sheep with a deep body coated in a tight fleece of good quality. It has the most excellent conformation with short neck well-muscled loins and strong gigots. Average body height of the mature ewes is around 60 cm at the withers, and around 65 cm for the rams, average mature ewe weighs 55-70kg, rams 70-90kg. They produce high quality, small lambs. Easily lambed, due to their small heads and narrow shoulders with lambs very alert and lively from birth.
Charmoise rams are regularly crossbred with hardy breeds for their exceptional conformation and with primiparous ewes for their fine bone structure which ensures easy lambing. The moderate growth rate of the Charmoise is an asset; lambs born in spring are suckled, and then turned out to pasture after weaning to be finished; this takes place after the summer dry period on autumn regrowth and without complementary feed. Their ability to fatten on grass, or with little need for supplementary food, enables production of carcasses of a decent weight, with the coloration characteristics of young meat despite its age, and at low production costs.