13 Interesting and Fun Facts about Merino Wool

13 Interesting and Fun Facts about Merino Wool

1. Sheep wool has a long history! Sheep wool has been used to make human clothing since the Stone Age.

2. Merino wool comes from a specific breed of sheep, which originated in Spain around the 12th century. Merino sheep are very adaptable to their surroundings, and are particularly good at surviving in very cold and harsh climates.

3. There are over 900 breeds of sheep in the world, one of the most popular is the Merino - it is favored for its soft fine wool which is used for clothing and blankets.

4. The wool coat on Merino sheep will never stop growing. They need to be sheared at least once a year to prevent the poor sheep from getting all hot and bothered in the summer.

5. Sheep wool has an incredible, natural UV protection built right in, which helps to keep sheeps from getting sunburnt.

6. Unlike regular wool, merino wool is very soft and won’t irritate the skin. This is because it has smaller fibers and scales, compared to regular wool.

7. The chemical lanolin is present in merino wool, which has antibacterial properties - another reason that merino wool is often used for thermal underwear. While some materials lose their warming properties when wet, merino wool manages to retain its warmth. This is great for hikers, walkers and skiers who will be subject to cold temperatures.

8. Sheep are intelligent - not only can sheep recognize up to 50 other sheep faces and remember them for 2 years, but they can also recognize human faces.

9. Sheep have excellent peripheral vision. Their large, rectangular pupils allow them to see almost 360 degrees. In fact, they can see behind themselves without turning their heads!

10. Wool fibres are very durable and flexible. Wool fibre can withstand being bent 20,000 times without breaking. In comparison, cotton breaks after 3,000 bends and silk after 2,000 bends.  The breathability of merino wool is superior to cotton and other man-made fabrics.

11. The most expensive sheep in the world was sold in Scotland in 2009 for $425,000; it was a male Texel sheep named Deveronvale Perfection. He was bought by a farmer in Scotland to use as a breeding ram.

12. Australia produces the most wool in the world at a massive 284,000 tonnes a year. There is a different breed of Merino in Australia, called Poll Merino, which has no horns.

13. Merino wool can vary in thickness. The wool can be so ultra-fine, that some batches are blended with delicate fabrics like silk to create luxuriously soft garments.