Spanish sheep first arrived in Florida in the 1500s. Later
importations of Spanish and other breeds of sheep mixed with the earlier
population, all evolving under the strong natural selection of the native range
conditions of Florida and the other Gulf Coast states. Today a remnant of this
population survives and is known as Gulf Coast sheep.
Gulf Coast sheep are best known for their resistance to
internal parasites. The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station in Gainesville
has a flock which has been maintained without the use of anthelmintics since
1962. The Gulf Coast Native is classified as a "critical" breed by
the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.