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Sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated, and they are raised all over the world. They are ruminants, so they need spacious areas and are not useful for industrial agriculture.

Sheep are herbivores, they typically eat seeds, grass and plants.  Most some sheep don’t need much water, a fact that makes them a perfect livestock for the scarce regions of the world. In Western countries they are most used for their meat and more recently also for their milk, while sheep wool plays a less important role in industrialised countries.

While China leads the list of countries with sheep, the map shows a high proportion of sheep living in Australia, New Zealand and the whole African Continent. In Europe most of the sheep are living in the United Kingdom, followed by Turkey and Spain.


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Technical Notes

Territory size is proportionate to the number of sheep there in 2016.

Data sources
This map uses data by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)  (last accessed March 2018). (last accessed March 2018). We aim to map as complete data as possible and therefore estimate data for missing values. In some cases, missing data for very small territories is not used in the cartogram and that area is therefore omitted in the map.

Further notes on the data, as well as all modifications to the original data source are noted in our data sheets.

Download data file

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