Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are among the earliest animals domesticated for human use. They are consumed worldwide as mutton, hogget, and lamb, kept as wool and milk producers, and used extensively in scientific research. The popular stereotype is that sheep are docile, passive, unintelligent, and timid, but a review of the research on their behavior, affect, cognition, and personality reveals that they are complex, individualistic, and social.

Author Biography

Lori Marino, neuroscientist, former faculty affiliate at the Emory Center for Ethics, President of the Whale Sanctuary Project, and Executive Director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, has written over 130 publications on dolphin and whale brain evolution and anatomy; intelligence and self-awareness; and the effects of captivity on social mammals, including cetaceans, elephants and primates. She worked with the Nonhuman Rights Project and is featured in the films Blackfish and Unlocking The Cage. Website

Debra Merskin is Professor of media studies in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. Her research focuses on how the media and popular press represent animals, resulting in species stereotypes, and how these portrayals affect the lived experiences of real animals. Her most recent book is Seeing Species: Re-Presentations of Animals in the Media & Popular Culture (2018, Peter Lang). Website



Article Thread

Marino, Lori and Merskin, Debra (2019) Intelligence, complexity, and individuality in sheep. Animal Sentience 25(1)

Phillips, Clive (2019) Sacrificial lambs. Animal Sentience 25(2)

Vonk, Jennifer (2019) Pulling the wool from our eyes. Animal Sentience 25(3)

Baker, Liv (2019) Is knowing enough to change human attitudes and actions?. Animal Sentience 25(4)

D'Silva, Joyce (2019) Reflections on sheep rearing. Animal Sentience 25(5)

Peña-Guzmán, David M. (2019) Casting a sheep’s eye on science. Animal Sentience 25(6)

Rollin, Bernard (2019) Far more to sheep than meets the casual eye. Animal Sentience 25(7)

Porcher, Ila France (2019) On the sentience of sheep and other useful objects. Animal Sentience 25(8)

Woodruff, Michael L. (2019) Smart sheep need more protection. Animal Sentience 25(9)

Webster, John (2019) Sentient animals do not just live in the present. Animal Sentience 25(10)

Brooks Pribac, Teya (2019) Positive sentience is underrated. Animal Sentience 25(11)

Colombo, Michael and Scarf, Damian (2019) Sheeple? The need for more research on sheep cognition. Animal Sentience 25(12)

Colombo, Matteo and Raucea, Chiara (2019) Sheep in Aesop’s and Phaedrus’s fables. Animal Sentience 25(13)

Adolphs, Ralph (2019) Using sheep psychology to guide sheep policy. Animal Sentience 25(14)

Franklin, Robert G., Jr. (2019) Why are sheep sheepish? How perception affects animal stereotyping. Animal Sentience 25(15)

Figdor, Carrie (2019) The mental lives of sheep and the quest for a psychological taxonomy. Animal Sentience 25(16)

Li, Peter J (2019) Debunking human prejudice and blindness. Animal Sentience 25(17)

Horback, Kristina (2019) Applied cognition research to improve sheep welfare. Animal Sentience 25(18)

Pellis, Sergio M. (2019) Guilty as charged. Animal Sentience 25(19)

Abbate, Cheryl (2019) Sheep complexity outside the laboratory. Animal Sentience 25(21)

Palmer, Clare and Sandøe, Peter (2019) Yes, sheep are smart but the moral question is still “can they suffer?”. Animal Sentience 25(24)

Gygax, Lorenz and Nawroth, Christian (2019) Farm animals are not humans in sheep clothing. Animal Sentience 25(25)

Kiley-Worthington, Marthe (2019) What every shepherd knows. Animal Sentience 25(26)

Gamez, David (2019) The intelligence of sheep. Animal Sentience 25(27)

Mallatt, Jon (2019) Time to vary the formula. Animal Sentience 25(28)

Hermanson, Sean (2019) The problem is not discourses of production; it is production itself. Animal Sentience 25(29)

Paez, Eze (2019) Becoming the good shepherds. Animal Sentience 25(30)

McLennan, Krista (2019) The importance of research applicability. Animal Sentience 25(31)

Brodbeck, David R.; Brodbeck, Madeleine I. R.; and Rosso, Keeghan (2019) Domestication and cognitive complexity. Animal Sentience 25(32)

King, James (2019) Adding sheep to the spectrum of comparative psychology. Animal Sentience 25(33)

Woodford, Peter and Carter, Alecia (2019) Science, social critique, and the need for ethics. Animal Sentience 25(34)

Sevillano, Veronica (2019) Our ambivalent stereotypes of sheep. Animal Sentience 25(35)

Willett, Cynthia (2019) Can a mirror capture the self?. Animal Sentience 25(36)

Mehrkam, Lindsay R. (2019) A behaviorist approach to sheep cognition, intelligence, and welfare. Animal Sentience 25(37)

Brennan, Ozy (2019) Complexity of wild ruminants. Animal Sentience 25(38)

Correia Caeiro, Catia (2019) Cognitive dissonance about sheep cognition and consumption. Animal Sentience 25(39)

Kendrick, Keith M. (2019) Social cognition in sheep: Welfare implications. Animal Sentience 25(40)

Hanlon, Alison (2019) Sheep are sentient, but not identical. Animal Sentience 25(41)