The Texel originated on the Isle of Texel off the coast of The Netherlands early in the
nineteenth century. The original Old Texel was probably a short-tailed variety of sheep. Limited
importations of Lincoln and Leicester Longwool were crossed with this stock during the
mid-1800’s. The characteristics of the breed were established early on through a series of local
showing competitions on the island. The emphasis was on a sheep that would produce heavily
muscled lambs of superior eating quality. Since the primary market for these lambs was
Continental Europe where excess fat on meat cuts has always been unpopular, significant effort
was also made to produce a sheep that had a low propensity for fat deposition.
The first Texels in the United States were imported by the Meat Animal Research Center at Clay
Center, NE in 1985. After a five-year quarantine, some were released for purchase by private
individuals in 1990 and subsequent years. Private importations have since been made by a handful
of breeders in the United States.