The Merino sheep is an economically influential breed. Originally from Turkey and central Spain, its wool has been highly valued since the Middle Ages.
Today, Merinos are still regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep. Merino wool is finely crimped and soft, and is frequently combined with other fibres such as silk and cashmere. Merino is also hugely popular in athletic and sportswear because it is helps to regulate body temperature, particularly when worn next to the skin, it draws moisture away from the skin, and is also slightly water repellent, however when properly wet it retains its warmth. Merino also contains lanolin which makes it naturally antibacterial, and it is also one of the softest wools available.