British Soay Conservationists

British Soay Sheep

Excel wildSoay are a small, ancient breed, a remnant population of a Neolithic sheep that have survived on the islands of St. Kilda off the coast of Scotland for several thousand years. They are the most primitive breed (least changed from their wild ancestor) of  any domestic sheep in existence today and they still live feral in their isolated homeland. Over the years a few were taken off St. Kilda and two small groups eventually made their way to America

The term British Soay Sheep refers a specific group of Soay sheep which descended from six Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) registered animals exported from England to Montreal, Canada on January 10, 1990. Their surviving progeny were imported into the US between 1998 and 2000. Those offspring were reinstated in the British registry in 1999.

All British Soay are registered with the Combined Flock Book (CFB) of the RBST in Great Britain, hence their name. The Combined Flock Book is their only registry and is internationally recognized. If a sheep is not registered by the Trust it is not recognized as British Soay. Both parents must be members of the CFB for a lamb to be registered. 

The term British Soay is used only in the US and Canada to distinguish this particular group of registered sheep from North American Soay which originated in the United States. Unlike British Soay, North American Soay are a hybrid of Soay and a variety of American breeds of sheep. American Soay are not part of the RBST Conservation program.