/ram"boo lay'/; Fr. /rddahonn booh ye"/, n.
one of a breed of hardy sheep, developed from the Merino, yielding good mutton and a fine grade of wool.
[1905-10; after Rambouillet, town and forest in N France, source of the breed]

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 town, Yvelines département, Île-de-France région, north-central France. It lies just southwest of Versailles. Flanked by its famous château and surrounded by an extensive forest, it is a favoured tourist spot for Parisians. The château, built in 1375 by a courtier of Charles V of France, passed into the hands of Jacques d'Angennes, captain of King Francis I's bodyguard. In 1547, Francis died there on a hunting visit. In 1783 Louis XVI bought the château from his cousin, had the gardens extended, and built a dairy for his wife, Marie-Antoinette. He established in the large park an experimental sheep farm, where the celebrated Rambouillet merinos are still bred. The park has now become the Bergerie Nationale (National Sheep Farm). The restored château, where Napoleon I and Charles X passed some of their last hours before going into exile, has become a summer residence for presidents of the French Republic. In Roman times the forest, which has an area of 50 square miles (130 square km), was part of the vast forest of Yvelines, extending south of Paris to Orléans. The town is primarily a residential and service centre, but some electronics are manufactured there. Pop. (1999) 24,758; (2005 est.) 25,400.

▪ breed of sheep
 breed of sheep, developed from selections of a few hundred of the best Merino sheep of Spain in 1786 and 1799 by the French government at its national sheepfold at Rambouillet, France. First imported to the United States in 1840, the breed was successfully molded through selective breeding to meet the needs of a large class of U.S. sheep producers. Rambouillets prevail on the western ranges, where two-thirds of the sheep of the United States are produced.

 The Rambouillet is the largest of fine wool sheep. The breed has a white face and white legs. The face covering of wool is rather heavy, even to the extent of causing wool blindness in some specimens, but selective mating has alleviated this problem. Fleeces of Rambouillet sheep are relatively heavy. The lambs grow rapidly under good feeding conditions to produce satisfactory market weights at from six to nine months of age. Rambouillet ewes are crossbred extensively with medium-wool and long-coarse-wool rams to produce choice market lambs and rugged breeding ewes with heavy, attractive medium wool.

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Universalium. 2010.

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