Saturday, September 10, 2016

Stone Sheep

Until our Alaska trip, Stone sheep were a mystery to me. I'd heard of them as part of the hunting grand slam, but that was about it. Stone sheep and Dall sheep are the two subspecies of thinhorn sheep, found in the northwest of North America. Unlike Dall sheep, Stone sheep are found only in Canada, in Northern British Columbia and up into Yukon. While Dall sheep are white, Stone sheep are slaty brown with white patches on the rump and inside the hind legs. 
A stone sheep ram at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.
Where the Dall and Stone sheep ranges merge there is integration between the two subspecies, in south-central Yukon in the Pelly and Ogilvie Mountains, and the sheep are an intermediate color between the two. These intermediate sheep are sometimes known as Fannin sheep. From what I can find, it is not clear from DNA testing if the Stone sheep and Dall sheep are genetically different and are truly separate subspecies.  

A Stone sheep ewe.
The Yukon Wildlife Preserve has Stone sheep in the same enclosure as Dall sheep and it is very interesting to see them side by side and compare. I would love to know if they inter-breed there, I assume that they must. These are the only Stone sheep I've ever seen. 


  1. What is it about their faces that makes them look so wise? I've always thought of sheep as kind of dumb.

  2. I'm not sure what qualifies these two sheep as "thin-horns". If that's a thin horn, I'd love to see a thick horn.