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The Rambouillet is a breed of sheep also known as the Rambouillet Merino or the
French Merino. The development of the Rambouillet breed started in 1786, when Louis
XVI purchased over 300 Spanish Merinos (318 ewes, 41 rams, 7 wethers) from his
cousin, King Charles III of Spain. The flock was subsequently developed on an
experimental royal farm, the Bergerie royale (now Bergerie nationale) owned by Louis
XVI, and built on his Domain of Rambouillet, 50 km southwest of Paris. The flock was
raised exclusively at the Bergerie, with no sheep being sold for many years.
Outcrossing with English long-wool breeds and selection produced a well-defined
breed, differing in several important points from the original Spanish Merino. The
size was greater, with full-grown ewes weighing up to 200 pounds and rams up to 300
pounds, live weight. The wool clips were larger and the wool length had increased to
greater than three inches.
The breed is well known for its wool, but also for its meat, both lamb and mutton. It has
been described as a dual-purpose breed, with superior wool and near-mutton breed
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