There are 10 different recognized varieties of Merino sheep as of 2014, and the characteristics of each type vary slightly. In general, the physical characteristics of the Merino sheep include a white coat and very fine wool, which is prized for being versatile.
Merino sheep are generally heavy for their size, and some sheep farmers raise them for mutton as well as wool. Some Merino sheep have short nubs for horns that aren't visible, while others have long, curling horns. Merino sheep are generally very fertile compared to other types of sheep, and they often give birth to twins or even quadruplets. The Merino sheep is recognized as the oldest established breed in the world by most wool farmers.