21 July 2019

Sophisticated Product Testers

Back at the end of May I opened a little Etsy shop called The Sophisticated Sheep. In it I sell handmade halters for sheep and bought, hand dyed ones for larger animals. Making sheep halters is a hobby I picked up in March after being inspired by some of the many people on Instagram who make leads and collars for dogs. I started with rope and then moved on to leather. This is the first halter I made for sheep using leather. Fit wise it's a bit off but it was strong enough to work.

Millie likes going for wee walks.

The chain under her chin is a martingale for a dog collar.

The buckles are relatively expensive roller ones.

I learned a lot from this first attempt.

My second attempt was a few weeks later (after clipping) and this time it was Flora helping me out. Rather than use leather, this time I used a material called Beta BioThane®. A lot of people are using it as a vegan leather alternative but I was skeptical. I eventually bought a little collar made from it and once I had it in my hands I thought that it was brilliant. Soft, flexible, waterproof and wipe clean, I've found it's a great material to use for animals.

My first BioThane® headcollar style halter was copied from some webbing headcollars I had bought off of a shop on eBay. Their design was a bit flawed - especially noticeable with the wonky strap running under the jaw.

For my second BioThane® attempt I used the same measurements but I copied the design of one of Blue Belle's headcollars. This was a huge success as Liz demonstrates:

The headcollar wasn't phased by a play fight between Liz and Flora (or maybe Flora was just jealous that she wasn't modelling this one).

Heather came over to check the rope lead.

This headcollar has Heather's seal of approval.

A few product shots because why not?

Yet another advantage of Beta BioThane® is that it comes in a rainbow of colours. I made this lime green lamb sized headcollar based on another webbing headcollar that I bought on eBay. It is a little big for Juliet here but by now it probably fits her better. I had some BioThane® left over so I made a matching lead.

The green colour blends in around here!

Snack breaks are essential.

Some more product shots. The Sophisticated Sheep logo is the silhouette of my dear boy Nobby (wearing a bow tie, of course).

This new hobby of mine is a lot of fun! I love the chance to be creative and make something special for my animals.

Halters and headcollars in this post by The Sophisticated Sheep (use code GREENHILL10 for 10% off).


  1. Sorry to be critical, but these look to be uncomfortable with the metal buckles and joins in them.
    The rope ones look better for comfort and appearance.

    1. I understand what you mean, but they're actually not too bad. The rivets are rounded on the inside so they don't rub, the material is soft with rounded corners on the inside. The disadvantage of a rope halter is that it tightens on the head if the sheep gets spooked by something or just decides to pull a lot that day, whereas these are only as tight as the buckles allow. It's no different to a horse wearing a headcollar, really. I would never put anything on my sheep if I thought it was uncomfortable for them.

    2. Now you explain I can see the advantage in design to the rope ones ,
      I'm glad that they are more comfortable for the sheep :)

    3. I will be making more rope halters too, though, as they are easy to make and great to use in most situations. After making all of these things, it seems that a wee rope halter is the best thing for lambs, whereas adults that don't pull too much can have either rope halters or these headcollars. As long as everything fits correctly they do no harm.