Sheep were first domesticated over 10,000 years ago by people in ancient Mesopotamia. It is theorized that domesticated sheep were bred from the wild sheep species, the mouflon, based on their similar number of chromosomes.

Sheep were one of the first species to be domesticated by mankind. Their domestication is linked with the beginning of human society. At first, sheep were only raised for their meat, skins and milk, but over time, sheep breeds that had more wool were bred by the Persians. While they originated in Eurasia, domestic sheep have spread all over the world. There are now over 200 distinct breeds of sheep.