Over the past 6 years, I have owned many different breeds of sheep. I love the Babydoll sheep for sure, but they do not have the best fleece for making yarn and other things. The meat is supposedly very good, but I have not eaten it. Babydolls are very friendly and easy going sheep, but let me say more about that.
I first started with Shetland sheep. I drove all the way to Valleyview, which is 8 hours each way, to bring back registered Shetland sheep. My research had been done. They had desireable fleece, were small and easy to handle, and the carcass was excellent as a meat animal. Being on my own, the smaller size appealed to me, as did the good reports of wool But the sheep, well, the ones I got, were wild. They were never handled. Indeed, they hardly saw humans for much of their lives. The ram was the calmest of the bunch. The ewes were so spooky, they would literally jump over my shoulder if I tried to corner and catch them. I am five foot eight. They are really good jumpers. I also got Karakuls brought out from Ontario. They actually were my very first sheep. Compared to those Shetlands, they were quiet and friendly and much easier to handle though they were larger. I sold the Shetlands and kept the Karakuls until last year when a young breeder from Ontario contacted me for their purchase. He plans to further the breed in Canada and had acquired all the Karakuls he could find, so mine went along to him as well.
I learned that not all sheep from each breed share the same natures though. I gave Shetland a second try and whoa, what a difference. The two bred ewes I got were quiet, shy, and not in the least spooky. What a complete difference from the first Shetland sheep I had! So, even within a breed, certain things make a huge difference. 1. Are the lambs and sheep handled daily? 2. Does the breeder/owner love the sheep s/he has? Yes, love. I believe that some sheep people love their sheep so much that their sheep feel it and are calmer and much more trusting as a result. Production people sometimes, not always, see raising sheep as a business and do not have time to walk amidst the sheep and pet each one. My sheep all have names.
Now, if I was asked which breed would I recommend for a beginner, it would be the Tunis. They are a medium sized meat breed with decent wool, but the wool can be greatly improved by crossing them with say a Blue Faced Leicester or a Cotswold. The lambs are hardy and up and nursing on their own and the ewes do not require intervention for lambing most of the time. Lambs are large and grow quickly for market or personal use. The Tunis has a medium fleece that is not soft, but felts reasonably well and would make good durable outer garments or rugs or saddle blankets and such. However; the crossed sheep have exquisite wool I particularly love the BFL Tunis cross ewes. They are large and have the softest wool in ringlets much like the BFL sheep, only more of it , so they are hardier than BFL sheep by far. The Tunis also can thrive on forage, does not need grain, so will work in a grass based operation and they are very sweet natured. If I kept just one breed, that is the one I would recommend.
Now, my favourite breed...I love so many. Babydolls, Jacobs, Icelandics, Romanovs, not Romneys, or at least the two I have, and I did not like the Blue Faced Leicesters either because they need too much in the way of extras for this climate. I really love my Cotswolds though. They are slow to mature, taking two years to reach full growth, but they are gentle, like the Tunis and have superior fleece. They forage well IF they are raised that way. But that applies to any sheep. Those raised on grain do not convert easily if at all to a forage based, grass fed operation. I have not crossed the Cotswolds with Tunis, but plan to do that next year to see what happens.
So, Lynn, for a first time sheep owner, my suggestion would be to buy a purebred registered Tunis ram and two registered ewes. You could also buy one or two Blue Faced Leicester ewes and breed them to the Tunis ram, and possibly a Cotswold ewe or two, depending on the number you wish to start with . Then you will have superior fleece, easy going, friendly sheep that thrive on grass and large meat carcasses for delicious lamb. That is my two cents. Best of luck with your choice(s).