As well as producing some of the most luxurious fibres on earth, Merino sheep have BIG personalities. Here’s our shortlist of the top three celebrity merinos of all time:
Shrek (27 November 1994 – 6 June 2011)
Shrek, from New Zealand, prized his fleece so highly that he successfully snuck away at shearing time, evading capture by hiding in caves - for six years!
By the time the proud beast was finally spotted, his coat weighed a whopping 60lbs (27kgs) and took a full 20 minutes to shear – which was broadcast on national TV. The heroic shearer eventually removed enough wool to make 20 large suits. (The average Merino fleece weighs around 10lbs (4.5 kg); 33lbs (15kg) is considered exceptional.)
Not content with becoming a national icon (at his 10th birthday party, New Zealand’s Prime Minister was among the guests), Shrek cemented his international fame by having his second shearing on an iceberg off the coast of New Zealand as part of a charity fundraiser.
Sonny Wool (2008–2020)
NZ’s other celebrity merino, Sonny Wool, found fame during the 2011 Rugby World Cup when he correctly predicted the winner of all of New Zealand’s matches.
The deeply sophisticated prediction process involved Sonny Wool being presented ahead of a match with two feed boxes marked on the outside with the relevant team flags. He correctly predicted (fed from the box marked) New Zealand each time, who went on to win all their matches. (Sceptics pointed out his failure to correctly predict three of the quarter-finals, but most decided their evidence was woolly and they were just being knitwits and baaaa-d sports...)
Hailing from the North Island, Sonny Wool quickly won an international following, with his own website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Sadly, he had to be granted 24-hour security after receiving death threats on his social media feeds including, “Your [sic] mutton chops tonight Sonny I’ve ordered extra mint sauce” (after Ireland was defeated by Wales – one of Sonny Wool’s rare wrong predictions).
Sunshine - Founder EJs pet lamb (at age 7/8)
Friend of Mickey the goat, who was continually serenaded in the back yard by EJ with “oh mickey you’re so fine” by Tony Basil (1981) until he ate her pigtail. They also use to head but for fun, might explain something.
Sunshine was a more peaceful family member, keeping the lawn trim and hanging out with various associates along with Micky, that being, Chica the German Shepard and Thomas the cat, who mysteriously disappeared the day the hay was cut. Let’s not forget Hazel the black and white rabbit who would accompany Emma up to the garage to hang out and sweep the floor and serve customers (age 8) paid in Smurfs, it was a pretty good deal – if she had kept the Smurfs.
Sunshine - her big moment came at the annual school fair, when Emma decided on a whim to enter her into the sheep parade. Turns out Sunshine wasn’t such a rule follower after all and made a break for it , tearing up the course and finding freedom on the Clevedon school Rugby field. Sunshine was a trailblazer for her kind, freedom reigns for sheep supreme and that’s how it should be. That’s why we only work with farmers who hold these values and follow the five freedoms set out by ZQ Merino.
As all our yarn is fully traceable, we can confirm that none of your Smalls began life on the back of one of these mighty merinos. But they are still as kitten-soft and luxuriously durable as if they had.