Natural Histories

photograph of a Sunda Pangolin

Armenian Sheep/ Iranian Sheep/ Mouflon

Ovia orientalis


This species has a red-brown coat of short hairs, with a dark back-stripe, light under parts, legs/socks, and also a light colored saddle patchThe Armenian sheep have loner brown hair on the neck during certain seasons. Armenian sheep can grow to be 90 cm tall at shoulder height. The males weigh about 50 kg while females tend to weigh 35 kg. Curved horns can occur in both male and female Armenian sheep, but some females do not have horns. The horns of a male sheep can grow to be 50-60 cm long and can be curved into almost a full revolution.


This species is found in moderately to very arid habitats, such as grasslands with juniter and almond scrublands, subalpine and alpine meadows, agricultural fields, and woodland areas. Armenian sheep can be found at 1000-3000 meters above sea level and prefer open spaces with rocky outcrops and canyons. Distributions of the Armenian sheep occur in Armenia, northeastern and southeastern Iran, Urial or Arkar in Afghanistan, northwestern India, Tajikistan, Armenia, southern Azerbaijan and parts of Pakistan.

Feeding Behavior and Diet

The Armenian sheep are herbivores, meaning they only consume vegetation. The diet of this species consists of grasses, shrubs, and grains.


Armenian sheep are promiscuous breeders, meaning both males and females have multiple mating partners. Breeding season, or rut, occurs between October and November with a peak of breeding activity occurring in the first half of November. Females produce one or two young (lambs) after a 5 month gestation period, usually in early April.

Months and Times of Activity

This species is active for 7.5-10 hours a day. 80% of that time is spent grazing. Armenian sheep become inactive about a half hour before dusk and are then inactive for the duration of night.

Special Features, Stories, Relationships

  • The Armenian sheep is a species protected under the IUCN, population declines have been due to poaching and competition with livestock. In 2009 this species was placed on Afghanistan’s first Protected Species List.
  • Armenian sheep are a feral species of sheep, originally introduced to the area by humans. Ancient populations of domestic livestock are the original source of the now wild/feral populations. The Armenian sheep or mouflon, are thought to be one of the two ancestors for all domestic sheep breeds.
  • This species is gregarious, meaning they travel I social groups.
  • To read legends featuring this animal go to;
  • Children’s book featuring this animal: Where is the Green Sheep? By Mem Fox and Judy Horacek


"Mouflon - Ovis Orientalis." Large Herbivore Network. Large Herbivore Network/ ECNC, 2009. Web. 01 May 2013.