The Churra (also known as Spanish Churro)[1] is an ancient Iberian breed of sheep[2] from Zamora province in Castile and León. The ewes produce the milk for Zamorana cheese; the meat is also prized.[3]

The Churra (renamed "churro" by American frontiersmen)[citation needed] was first imported to North America in the 16th century and used to feed Spanish armies and settlers. By the 17th Century, churros were popular with the Spanish settlers in the upper Rio Grande Valley. Flocks of churros were also acquired by Navajo through raids and trading, and soon became an important part of their economy and culture.[2]

In the early 1900s, the United States federal government decided that other breeds would be better for reservation life and a program of out-breeding nearly caused the churro sheep to go extinct. People concerned with quality of wool and the history and culture of the Navajo are making an effort to save the breed.[4]

Spanish traditional wisdom advises not to mix churras and merinas, i.e., not to confuse different concepts.[clarification needed]

See also


  1. ^ "Churra/Spain". Breed Data Sheet. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Navajo-Churro". Breeds of Sheep. Oklahoma State University. Archived from the original on 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  3. ^ Mendel, Janet (2005). My Kitchen in Spain: 225 Authentic Regional Recipes. Frances Lincoln Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7112-2431-5. 
  4. ^ "Sacred Sheep Revive Navajo Tradition, For Now". Weekend Edition Sunday. NPR. Retrieved 2010-06-13.