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, as a few of our sheep quotes refer to, 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.
Sheep Quotes About Living On The Farm
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.
Notable Sheep Quotes About Vulnerability And Conformity
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.
Meaningful Quotes About Sheep And Shepherds
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.
Other Metaphorical Sheep Quotes To Think About
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 catalyze 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.
Sheep Quotes In The Bible And The Little Prince
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 sayings below.
A few more sheep sayings and quotes
Work – other people's work – is an intolerable idea to a cat. Can you picture cats herding sheep or agreeing to pull a cart? They will not inconvenience themselves to the slightest degree.
~ Louis J. Camuti
We laugh at sheep because sheep just follow the one in front. We humans have out-sheeped the sheep, because at least the sheep need a sheep dog to keep them in line. Humans keep each other in line. And they do it by ridiculing or condemning anyone who commits the crime, and that's what it's become, of being different.
~ David Icke
Every man can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but not how many friends.
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
~ James Bovard
It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious.
~ Henry David Thoreau
The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers.
~ Edgar Fiedler
To create man was a quaint and original idea, but to add the sheep was tautology.
~ Mark Twain
Do exactly the opposite of what the sheep are doing in order to become the Shepherd.
~ Marshall Sylver
If a wolf attacks his sheep, the shepard kills the wolf, but he eats the sheep when he's hungry.
~ Charlie Higson
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.
~ Abraham Lincoln
It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains of a different opinion.
~ William Inge
Everyone's like sheep on social media; like, one person starts making noise, and everyone's like, 'Hey, yeah!' and then you got a whole bunch of people making noise at you.
~ Earl Sweatshirt
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).