BACKGROUND: There is strong evidence implicating eosinophils in host defence against parasites as well as allergic disease pathologies. However, a lack of reagents such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for eosinophils has made it difficult to confirm the functional role of eosinophils in such disease conditions. Using an established mammary model of allergic inflammation in sheep, large numbers of inflammatory cells enriched for eosinophils were collected from parasite-stimulated mammary glands and used for the generation of mAbs against ovine eosinophils. RESULTS: A panel of mAbs was raised against ovine eosinophils of which two were shown to be highly specific for eosinophils. The reactivity of mAbs 3.252 and 1.2 identified eosinophils from various cell and tissue preparations with no detectable reactivity on cells of myeloid or lymphoid lineage, tissue mast cells, dendritic cells, epithelial cells or other connective tissues. Two other mAbs generated in this study (mAbs 4.4 and 4.10) were found to have reactivity for both eosinophils and neutrophils. CONCLUSION: This study describes the production of new reagents to identify eosinophils (as well as granulocytes) in sheep that will be useful in studying the role of eosinophils in disease pathologies in parasite and allergy models.