The domestic sheep (Ovis aries) varies much in size, in the length and texture of its wool, the form and size of its horns, the length of its tail, etc. It was domesticated in prehistoric ages, and many distinct breeds have been produced; as the merinos, celebrated for their fine wool; the Cretan sheep, noted for their long horns; the fat-tailed, or Turkish, sheep, remarkable for the size and fatness of the tail, which often has to be supported on trucks; the southdowns, in which the horns are lacking; and an Asiatic breed which always has four horns.
Origin: OE. Shep, scheep, AS. Scp, sceap; akin to OFries. Skp, LG. & D. Schaap, G. Schaf, OHG. Scaf, Skr. Chaga. Cf. Sheepherd.