Until recently, it has been difficult to derive and maintain stable embryonic stem cells lines from livestock species. Sheep ESCs with characteristics similar to those described for rodents and primates have not been produced. We report the derivation of sheep ESCs under a chemically defined culture system containing fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and a tankyrase/Wnt inhibitor (IWR1). We also show that several culture conditions used for stabilizing naïve and intermediate pluripotency states in humans and mice were unsuitable to maintain ovine pluripotency in vitro. Sheep ESCs display a smooth dome-shaped colony morphology, and maintain an euploid karyotype and stable expression of pluripotency markers after more than 40 passages. We further demonstrate that IWR1 and FGF2 are essential for the maintenance of an undifferentiated state in de novo derived sheep ESCs. The derivation of stable pluripotent cell lines from sheep blastocysts represents a step forward toward understanding pluripotency regulation in livestock species and developing novel biomedical and agricultural applications.