All Blackfaces are horned, with black or black and white face and legs. The fleece should be free of black fibre and can vary from short, fine wool used for carpets and tweeds to strong coarse wool, which is sold mainly for the Italian mattress trade.
There are several distinct types within the breed. These have evolved over the years, influenced by climate, environment and grazing quality. This gives the breed the advantage of being able to produce species to suit every climatic condition. The Scottish Blackface, which are the most numerous, are sub-divided into three types.
- The Perth type, a large-framed sheep with a medium to heavy wool, is found mainly in north-east Scotland, south-west England and Northern Ireland. The larger frame produces
lambs ideal for long keep on winter forage or indoors, to finish in the spring when hogget prices tend to be on the rise. With hoggets reaching a finishing weight of 40kg plus. A Perth ram can bring size, strength and vigour to a hill flock.
- The Lanark type, which is dominant in much of Scotland and areas of Ireland, is of medium size, with shorter wool than the Perth type. Over the past thirty years, a strong influence of Newton Stewart type has been introduced, the integration of Lanark and Newton Stewart bloodlines, as well as benefiting both milking ability and hardiness, has helped create a more uniform and identifiable breed.
- In the north of England, the large-framed, soft woolled Northumberland Blackface is popular and influential in breeding the North of England Mule.