There is some controversy on the origin of the Black Hawaiian sheep, also known as black sheep on some hunting ranches. A theory is it is a cross of the European Mouflon with feral, black haired sheep from the Hawaiian Islands. Another is that they are a black color phase of the Corsican. It is definitely one of the most popular hunting trophies of all the exotic sheep in the US. A Black Hawaiian ram taxidermy mount is an impressive addition to the trophy room.
A noble animal, they sport a thick, long black coat and long mane, with some having a white muzzle. The Black Hawaiian has a large mane of hair on the neck, known as a “ruff”. In winter they may develop an outer coat of reddish wool that is shed in summer. Cross breeding has created a variety of color phases.
The massive horns on a mature ram curl up, back, down, forward, then up again and then tip out, Similar to an argali. Horns are usually dark and can grow to a length of over 40 inches, measured around the curl. Females will have only short horns, if any at all. Rams may weigh as much as 225 lbs. and stand 30 inches at the shoulder.
They are very agile sheep and are at home in rugged habitats. The Black Hawaiian is primarily a browser, with its main diet consisting of grass, brush and weeds. As with most horned sheep, dominance for breeding rights is determined by the mature rams fighting by crashing the horns together to determine a winner.
There are free-range herds in several states and can be found on private ranches through the lower 48 states and Hawaii.