Pure, natural wool has a unique cellular structure that gives it many desirable properties. Most properties are typical of all wool, but there are differences among various sheep breeds. The differences affect the appearance and feel of the wool and what it’s used for.
Merino sheep are famous for their fine, soft wool, which is particularly suitable for high quality apparel. The cross-section diagram below shows the special properties that make Merino wool so desirable and valuable.
An average Merino sheep is protected by 60 million extremely fine wool fibres. In ideal conditions its fleece can grow 12 kilometres per day.
Crossbred sheep, such as Romney and Perendale, have coarser wool that is more typically used in interior textiles such as carpets and upholstery, in knitted jerseys, and in heavier fabrics such as tweeds.