New Zealand has 40 million sheep and a reputation for the world's finest wool. New Zealand is also the world's second largest producer of wool after Australia. The ratio of sheep to humans is more than 10 to one. This ratio has been a lot higher in the past.
In the early 1800s, British immigrants introduced sheep for farming. Since that time, the breeds that best suited New Zealand climates and variety of landscapes were bred. This selective breeding program created six main breeds with around 30 breeds in total.
The Merino is farmed in alpine grasslands of the Southern Alps with Halfbreeds and Corriedales on the foothills and plains east of these alps. Some breeds are used for wool and meat production such as Romneys, Coopworths, and Perendales.