Baaa! Fluffy white sheep have captured our hearts with their innocent nature. With over 1000 distinct species worldwide, the human race domesticated sheep2 approximately 10,500 years ago for their meat, milk, and wool. And many have spent countless hours counting them late at night.
Due to their docile nature, we often associate these animals with innocence, peace, vulnerability, and conformity, as seen in our daily metaphors. They've also found their way into countless literary works, from the Bible to the timeless classic, The Little Prince. Check out these and more in our collection of sheep quotes below.
Quick links to our selection of sheep quotes:
If I were to retire right now, I would be on a farm growing my food while surrounded by rescued animals, including sheep. Can you imagine the relaxing animal sounds while enjoying the fresh air breeze?
Raising sheep for meat, milk, or wool is a fulfilling pursuit, but having them for emotional companionship is a hundred times better. Whether surrounded by sheep, cows, or chickens, studies have proven how farming can significantly improve mental health1.
After reading the sheep quotes below, visit our hiking quotes and gardening quotes for more nature therapy.
We describe individuals as having a sheep mentality when they blindly conform to the opinions or actions of others without questioning the logic behind them. Since these wooly mammals are prey with a strong social instinct to follow a leader, they are sometimes associated with followers and timid or vulnerable people. However, we should remember that these labels can be harmful and dismissive of individuals who lack assertiveness.
Build your confidence as these sheep quotes provide helpful reminders.
If sheep herds are great in number and roam in a large plot of unprotected land, they need a shepherd to guide their path and protect them from predators. Their profession is one of the oldest, existing around 5,000 years ago.
Throughout time, the bond between sheep and their shepherd transcends its literal meaning. It often symbolizes the relationship between a leader and their followers or even a higher power and its believers.
If you are a leader, these sheep quotes will teach you to be an exemplary shepherd. You might also like our leadership quotes for more on the theme.
Aside from the metaphors above, we also use terms like "black sheep" to describe someone who deviates from societal norms. Such divergence may be perceived negatively but can also be a catalyst for change, as the black sheep challenges the status quo. But in nature, black sheep exist thanks to the genetic lottery with black fleece recessive genes.
Check out how writers use this metaphor and many more through the sheep quotes below.
To dive deeper into the different connotations attached to sheep, let's take two famous books as an example. In the Bible, the sheep often represent God's people, with the Lord depicted as a shepherd who guides and protects his flock. This imagery is particularly striking in Psalm 23, where the Lord leads his sheep to green pastures and still waters, providing them with safety and nourishment.
Meanwhile, the sheep symbolism in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novella, The Little Prince, took a different turn, focusing on conformity and individuality. The quirky sheep in the story reminds readers that blindly following the flock isn't always the best option. Instead, embracing our unique identity is the way to go.
Look further into these contrasting perspectives as you read the rest of our sheep quotes below.
Pedersen, I., Patil, G., Berget, B., Ihlebæk, C., & Gonzalez, M. T. (2015). Mental health rehabilitation in a care farm context: A descriptive review of Norwegian intervention studies. Work (Reading, Mass.), 53(1), 31–43.
Alberto, F.J., Boyer, F., Orozco-terWengel, P. et al. Convergent genomic signatures of domestication in sheep and goats. Nat Commun 9, 813 (2018).