To call someone a sheep is to imply that they are weak, unintelligent, and easily led. But that comparison is somewhat inaccurate!
They learn surprisingly quickly and learn most effectively when they perceive things visually. They have been shown to be able to learn how to choose things by color. A study demonstrated that they could learn how to find the correct container by its shape and color and they knew that just because something is covered doesn’t mean that it has actually disappeared.
Amazingly, a flock of sheep in the UK even figured out how to cross a hoof-proof grid by rolling over it to reach tastier grass on the other side!
Generally speaking as each breed may vary, sheep are not only incredibly smart, they also have wonderful memories! They can remember approximately 50 individuals (sheep and human!) for years.
Sheep have very impressive cognitive ability and just like humans, they form deep and lasting bonds with each other. They stick up for one another in fights, and they grieve when they lose a friend. They experience all of the same emotions that we do including fear, joy, boredom, anger and happiness to name a few.
And sheep self medicate! Sheep who aren’t feeling well have been known to seek out plants and substances that make them feel better.