It has been recognized as a distinct breed since 1810. It is counted among the so-called ‘Down’ group of breeds, almost each of which is characterized by black or dark face and legs. In the United Kingdom it is the most commonly used paternal breed (terminal sire). Two-thirds of slaughter lambs produced in the country are from Suffolk rams. They are characterized by excellent maternal traits, a good milk yield and a prolificacy of 1.5 to 1.8. They are seasonal breeders. It is one of the breeds having the best grazing behaviour, however they bear also being kept in fold well. They show good meat shapes (mutton conformation) and have high lamb weight gain. Mature weights for ewes range from 75 to 90 kg, and ram weights vary from 100 to 130 kg.