Montafoner Steinschafe | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH, Schruns - Patrick Säly

Montafon Steinschaf

(Stone sheep)



The greatest pride of the Montafon, at 70 cm high.

People from the Montafon are humble, proud, honest and strong. Perhaps it is these very properties that are reflected in their own breed of sheep: the Montafon Steinschaf (stone sheep).

This small, graceful animal with its pretty straight nose, which gives it a childlike element, is remarkably modest. It copes well with rough weather and little food, it is diligent, lively and friendly. It has a wonderfully shiny coat. Besides the Montafon cattle, the modest Montafon sheep is the only other animal breed originating from Vorarlberg. There is a need to preserve that which is so typical of the Montafon – people are aware of the value of their culture here. That is why some enthusiasts of the stone sheep, such as Martin Mathies and Peter Kasper, took to the task when it was almost extinct. It is thanks to them that there are now several small flocks in the Montafon. The number of breeders has now even doubled since 2011.

Peter Kasper und Martin Mathies | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH Schruns, Patrick Säly

“They are simple, tame animals that you
quickly take into your heart.”

Together with the breeder Peter Kasper, who has another occupation besides working in agriculture, Martin Mathies has come up with something to create awareness for the much loved fluffy animals. With a lot of perseverance, commitment and in cooperation with other breeders and regional partners, the two created the best conditions for the successful future of the great Vorarlberg breed.

Find out more about Peter Kasper and Martin Mathies
Montafoner Steinschafe | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH, Schruns - Patrick Säly

On former pack train routes to the cultural heritage of the Montafon

Via Valtellina and Montafon Steinschaf (stone sheep)

In Gargellen, the highest village in the Montafon, the walk leads past impressive Maisäss landscapes and the former Via Valtellina pack train route to the Montafon stone sheep, an unusual breed of Austrian sheep. On the way there, you learn more about the valley’s pack train and smuggling past.

Register now for the guided hike


Did you know that...

the “Montafon Steinschaf” initiative was founded in 2011?

Nevertheless, at the start there was some convincing to be done in order to get other farmers interested in sheep farming. After a tricky start during which the two successfully combated many reservations about the animals, their work now enjoys widespread recognition. The awareness and interest of the population has noticeably increased, many people recognise the value of the local breed and are seeking contact with the breeders and their animals.

“At first I bred chickens and then I kept bees,” says Martin. He has 30 sheep, which is a remarkable number in light of the fact that the breed almost became extinct. His partner Peter initially only came across the stone sheep in the stories of his father. A few years ago, he rediscovered the stone sheep in a chance encounter with breeders and has since developed a strong love for the charming animals.

“We would also like to build a small flagship farm for old animal breeds with a walk-in stable and retail space,” says Martin, detailing potential future plans. “There, we also want to demonstrate what farm life was like in the past. However, it should in no way become a rigid museum.”

Today, anyone who is interested in visiting the farms and sheep of Peter Kasper and Martin Mathies is very welcome to do so. It can be particularly fun-filled in early summer. That is when the young lambs buck joyfully around their happy mothers.

Anyone who wants to get closer to the charming animals can even sponsor a sheep for 200 EUR a year. Besides the good feeling of helping to protect the stone sheep, you will receive regular news and a wool or meat product on an annual basis, among other things.



The history of the Montafon Steinschaf [stone sheep]



Montafon Steinschaf products

The untreated wool of the Montafon Steinschaf is renowned well beyond the borders thanks to its quality.

A wide variety of traditional and modern products is now produced from the untreated or felted wool.

Here is a small selection:

Montafon Weather

Bartholomäberg
10°C
Gargellen
9°C
Gaschurn-Partenen
10°C
St. Anton im Montafon
12°C
St. Gallenkirch-Gortipohl
11°C
Schruns-Tschagguns
12°C
Silbertal
11°C
Vandans
12°C

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Raetikonbahn

2.103 m, Vandans

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Servicezentrale Montafon | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH, Andreas Haller