Noire de Thibar; Black Merino.
The breed has a characteristic black coat colour; body size and conformation is good both for wool and mutton; the ram weighs 80 to 90 kg and the ewe is between 50 and 60 kg. Fleece quality is medium to fine (Mason, 1967).
This breed was developed from reciprocal crossing of Arles Merinos of southern France and the Tadmit sheep in Tunisia. The crossing and selection was undrtaken by the Catholic Mission of the Peres Blancs de St. Joseph de Thibar in northern Tunisia, hence the breed name Thibar. The original importation of the Arles Merinos dates back to 1908, but this stock did not thrive because of their white skin that made them sensitive to the poisonin by Hypericum perforatum or H. crispum. Consequently these were crossed with the Tadmit sheep of the area from 1911; the breeding animals were selected for black coat colour, and by 1918 the whole breeding stock had black coat; in 1924 only 5% of the stock had a white spot on the back of the head, or on the tip of the tail, or both. In 1945 the breed was officially recognised and a flock book opened under the name Race Ovine Noire de Thibar.