Jacob sheep take their name from the Old Testament story of how Jacob became a selective breeder of pied sheep. The first descendants of Jacob's sheep travelled to Spain via the coast of North Africa. In the 17th & 18th Century Jacobs with 4 horns were imported from Spain by wealthy British land owners who wanted attractive sheep to graze with deer in parklands surrounding castles and stately homes.
The oldest known flock, imported in the 1750's, still graze at Charlecote Park in Warwickshire. Later Jacobs with 2 horns were bred so creating 2 distinct types. Many of these flocks had disappeared at the end of the First World War but there was a big revival after the Jacob Sheep Society was formed in 1969 to preserve the breed.