Do sheep have horns?
Wild sheep, from which all domestic sheep are derived all have horns in both sexes – it is one of the defining characteristics of the sub-family (Caprinae, sheep, goats & relatives) to which they belong. In most primitive breeds both males and females are horned – there are even 4-horned animals in some breeds (e.g. Hebridean). However, even in these sheep there may be individuals born without horns – called polled. This is a disadvantage for males if they have to fight for mates against horned males, but maybe advantageous for females who don’t waste energy growing horns. Over the past few centuries sheep breeders have taken advantage of this characteristic to develop completely polled breeds – Suffolk, Southdown are a couple but there are lots of them. There are also scurred animals – who have little more than horn buds or very partially developed horns. In Soay sheep, scurred males don’t do very well in mating contests, but when there is a severe winter they survive better than the