Merino wool is made from the fleece sheared from the Merino breed of sheep. The breed was first brought to Spain in the 14th century and has since been cultivated throughout the world.
The especially fine and soft Merino wool has had high economic value around the world since the 14th century. The fineness of different Merino wool results from Merino cross-breeds and continually breeding Merino sheep with the most desirable quality fleeces. The cross-breeding and spread of the original Spanish Merino breed resulted in a dilution of purebred Merino stock. Few flocks in the world legitimately claim purebred Merino strains descending from the Spanish Merino flocks.