The Southdown is historically one of the most important of the British breeds of sheep, valued for fleece, meat, and for improvement of other breeds. The Southdown was developed in southeastern England, specifically in the Chalk Hills or "South Downs" of Sussex. The region has a mild climate, fertile soil, and good grass that make it excellent for raising sheep. Southdowns are distinctive in appearance. The sheep are sturdy, wide, deep, compact, and refined.