Originally it is compact and lightly built and does not need much concentrated food. The meat has relatively little fat. The Spelsau gives rich milk, sticks well together in the flock and manages well outdoors most of the year. But it is vulnerable to eye disease caused by eating the plant Bog Asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum).
It gives milk and meat of good qualiy. The wool is characterised through having two layers: An outer longhaired, glossy undulating layer of wool protecting the underlying layer against wind and rain, and an underlying layer which keeps the sheep warm. The long, protective wool which is used for weaving is traditionally spun into two-strand, tightly-spun yarn, instead of the usual three-strand type, resulting in a beautiful lustre. This spelsau yarn was used in the Norwegian old tapestries from the renaissance and baroque times. The Viking ship sails were made from spelsau yarn. The wool was also in the old days used in clothing because it was light, stable and absorbed little moisture.
Tho. B. Kielland: Norsk Billedvev (Fortids kunst i norske bygder).
Bondevennen nr 27/28 - 12 juli 2002.