The Florida Cracker Sheep are wool sheep, meaning they have wool that must be sheared. They are descendants of sheep that arrived in the southeastern United States with Spanish explorers more than 450 years ago. Up until the end of WWII, they roamed free, being rounded up once or twice a year until open grazing ended just after the war. Only the most heat, parasite, and predator resistand sheep survived. The base population appears to have been the Spanish commoners' sheep, the churro or churra, augmented over the years by some finer-wooled strains, possibly including some Merino, Rambouillet, white-faced English breeds, and American Tunis.
The Florida Cracker Sheep are a heritage breed that are known for: mild flavor, unique wool characteristics, foraging ability, parasite resistance, and excellent regional adaptation. Wool from Heritage sheep has a variety of characteristics and uses, ranging from sturdy and weather-resistant outerwear to fine elastic wool for next-to-you-skin clothing. The Florida Cracker is listed on the endangered list by The Livestock Conservancy organization, and is part of the "Shave 'Em to Save 'Em" challenge that rewards fiber artists for using wool from breeds on the Conservation Priority List while connecting shepherds of Heritage breeds with customers. Learn more at: RareWool.org.
Their wool was tested by Texas A&M to gather some analytical data on Florida Cracker wool. The results indicated that the average fiber diameters were between 24 and 34 microns, the staple lengths were 3.5-6 cm; there were a lot of second cuts in the wool tested, so annual growth would be expected to be closer to 2"-3" (5-7.5 cm).