Abstract A study was conducted to assess the breed resistance against nematode infections in Santa Ines, Ile de France and Suffolk male lambs over a 9-month period in São Paulo state, Brazil. Lambs were born during the winter (year 2000) and were weaned at 2 months of age. The animals were then housed and treated with anthelmintics to eliminate natural infections by gastrointestinal nematodes. In late October 2000, lambs were placed in a paddock, where they stayed until August of the following year. Fecal and blood samples were taken from each animal every 2 weeks. On the same day, a pasture sample was collected to determine the number of infective larvae on the herbage. To prevent deaths, individual treatment with anthelmintics was provided to lambs with fecal egg counts (FEC) higher than 4000 eggs per gram (EPG) or with a packed cell volume (PCV) lower than 21%. In August 2001, all animals were slaughtered and the worms present in samples of the gastrointestinal contents were identified and counted. Most of the Suffolk and Ile de France sheep received three to six anthelmintic treatments over a period of 7 months, while most of the Santa Ines were not treated. Reductions in PCV and plasma protein values associated with high FEC and worm burdens were recorded, particularly, in Suffolk and Ile de France lambs. Haemonchus contortus and Oesophagostomum columbianum burdens and number of nodular lesions caused in the large intestine by O. columbianum larvae were significantly lower in Santa Ines sheep. All three breeds showed similar Trichostrongylus colubriformis worm burdens . The relative resistance of Santa Ines young male sheep was superior to that of Suffolk and Ile de France sheep.