Information About Somaliland Livestock

Somali Black Head Sheep
Somali black head sheep (Barbarawe) Sheep is a short haired sheep native to the Republic of Somaliland that is commonly kept as free ranging animals fed exclusive on grass in an organic production system. It has reputation amongst consumers’ for having tender and good tasting mutton of low fat and good flavour. It has minimal aroma and high meat/bone ratio compared to other sheep breeds. This has made it a favourite dish in many Middle East countries and Africa.

Consumers favour the taste of Somali mutton. The manageable size (5.5 – 20 kilograms) of the carcass makes it suitable for family consumption. The flavour is due to a high concentration of fatty acids reputed to have medicinal value. Mutton is taken from animals of between one year old and 5 years old, with a carcass weight of between.

The Barbarawe is reputed to be one of the immediate ancestors of the Black Head Persian and the Dorper through cross breeding. The ram is highly valued for it is religious connotation with demand increasing during the Hajj season.


The Zebu cattle of Somaliland mainly belong to a group designated as a Small Zebu of the Somaliland or Somali Shorthorn Zebu also called the North Somali breed. Cattle from Somaliland are appreciated in Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates markets of the Middle East counties.

Cattle raised in fairly harsh environmental conditions are reputed to produce relatively better quality meat targeting an organic niche. The meat is reasonable lean and tender making it a palatable dish in many countries.

Camels are mainly dairy animals in Somalia although there are no data on production. Camels are also used as pack animals when moving camps and to a limited extent in commercial transport. Due to its special features it can transverse arid and semi arid areas during dry period going without water for several days.

Young camels have a tender meat that is delicious and enjoyed by many Somalis. The meat is offered for sell in most Somali restaurants located in major towns at a high cost compared to goats and sheep.

Traditionally, it is animal of social prestige among the Somalis and the more you have the higher you are in the social strata. The hides of the camel are exported to Asian countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong among others and it generates foreign currency for the both Somaliland.