The uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is an indicator of brown adipocytes and is involved in the control of body temperature and regulation of energy balance. It abundantly expresses in newborns and has important functions in adults. However, little information was known on UCP1 gene expression in young and adolescent sheep. In this study, we cloned and identified the full-length DNA and cDNA sequences of the ovine UCP1 gene, which were 6659 bp and 1621 bp, respectively, and predicted the location of the gene on chromosome 17. Forty-eight animals with an equal number of males and females each for both Guangling Large Tail sheep (GLT) and Small Tail sheep Han (STH) sheep were used to study the ontogenetic expression of UCP1 mRNA in eight adipose tissues by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The results showed that the mRNA was expressed in all tissues studied and at all stages from 2 to 12 months of age. Nevertheless, the mRNA in perirenal fat was expressed significantly higher than that in other tissues and lower in superficial fat than in deep deposits. The highest expression was observed in animals at 2 months of age and then decreased gradually with age. Global expression in GLT was significantly higher than that in STH. Interactions between tissue and breed and age also influenced the mRNA expression significantly. In addition, the mRNA expression was associated with the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) haplotypes detected in the cDNA of the gene.