Colours & Markings

Wool Colours in Shetland Sheep

There are eleven main whole colours in Shetland sheep, with many shades and variants in between. The eleven whole colours are shown in the images below, which are taken from photographs by the late Dr SHU Bowie. There are two samples of Shaela because of differing meanings in different parts of the Shetland Isles.

Markings in Shetland Sheep

More than 30 recognised markings have been identified.

We have compiled detailed descriptions and a gallery of pictures for each marking which can be found by clicking on the names below.  Within the descriptions you will also find the Old Norse (O.N.) words that the names are derived from. 

  • Bersugget - Having irregular patches of differing colours
  • Bielset - Having a circular band of a different colour round the neck
  • Bioget - With a white back and darker sides and belly, or vice-versa
  • Blaeget - Having a lighter shade on the outer part of the wool fibre, especially in moorit and dark brown sheep.
  • Blaget - White, with irregular dark patches resembling ground partly snow covered
  • Blettet - With white patches on nose and top of head
  • Bleset/Sneedled - Dark coloured with a white stripe (blaze) down the forehead
  • Brandet - Having stripes of another colour across the body (i.e. going over the back)
  • Bronget - Dark coloured with light coloured breast, or vice versa
  • Burrit-
  • Flecket - White with large black or brown patches (not as well defined as in Jacob sheep when in full fleece)
  • Fronet - Black/brown spotted with white head and black/brown spots around the eyes
  • Gulmoget - Having light underparts with a dark coloured body, white inside the ears and under the jaw.
  • Ilget - White with spots of a different colour (usually grey or black)
  • Iset - Black or shaela with many white fibres, giving a bluish hue from a distance
  • Katmoget - Having a light coloured body with dark belly and legs and a moget face. The reverse of Gulmoget
  • Katmollet - Having light coloured nose and jaws
  • Kraiget - Having the neck a different colour from the rest of the body
  • Kranset - Dark coloured with white around eyes and head
  • Krunet -Dark coloured with a white patch on the top of the head
  • Marlit - Various shades of different colours, mottled
  • Mirkface - White with dark patches on the face
  • Moget-faced - Applied to the characteristic face markings of the Katmoget pattern on sheep not otherwise displaying that pattern
  • Mullit - White with dark nose and jaws - the reverse of Katmollet
  • Sholmet - Of any colour, other than white, with a white face
  • Skeget - Stripes of different colours on the sides, not going over the back
  • Smirslet - With white around the mouth head or neck
  • Snaelit - Light coloured body with snow-white face
  • Sokket - With legs of a different colour to the body - giving the effect of wearing socks
  • Sponget - Dark coloured with small white spots
  • Yuglet - Having colour around eyes different from remainder of the body

Colours and Markings Poster

In 1996 a survey was made of members' sheep having recognised or other markings.

Information was returned as sketches of the location, nature, and colour of the sheep's markings. Our poster shows 63 of the variations sent in. Some of these are particularly uncommon.

The poster is available as shown on the merchandise page:



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