© 2018 The Author(s). The goal of the current study is to analyse the gene expression profile of the ovine skeletal muscle as well as to characterize the genetic variation of transcripts expressed in such tissue. This aim has been achieved by sequencing the longissimus dorsi transcriptomes of 50 sheep distributed in five pools representing the Canaria de Pelo, Roja Mallorquina, Gallega, Xisqueta and Ripollesa Spanish autochthonous breeds. Approximately, 363 million reads per pool have been produced and 71.9-82.9% have been successfully mapped to the ovine genome in a paired-end mode (2 × 75 bp). The 200 most expressed muscle transcripts (≈1% of the total transcript count) account for 51% (Canaria de Pelo) to 67% (Gallega) of the total ovine skeletal muscle mRNA expression. These highly expressed genes play key roles in pathways related with striated muscle contraction, gluconeogenesis, glycolysis, citric acid cycle and respiratory electron transport. RNA-Sequencing of muscle transcripts has also revealed that ~72% of the SNPs detected with this approach are shared by at least two pools, and 10% of them segregate in the five pools under analysis. Most of the substitutions detected by RNA-Seq are synonymous or missense and only a minority are predicted to have consequences on protein function.