The β-3 adrenergic receptor (ADRB3) is a G-protein coupled receptor involved in regulating lipolysis, as part of homeostatic regulation. In this study, South African Mutton Merino and Shanxi Dam Line were used to study the distribution and quantification of ADRB3 in adipose (subcutaneous, omental, retroperitoneal, mesenteric and perirenal fat) and non-adipose (heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney) tissues of sheep. The protein was determined by immunohistochemical technique and by mRNA abundance via real-time polymerase chain reaction. ADRB3 was detected in all studied tissues with abundance in adipose tissues higher than in non-adipose tissues (P < 0.001). For adipose tissues, greater expression was found in deep deposits such as great omental and retroperitoneal fat than in subcutaneous fat (P < 0.05). Significant differences (P < 0.05) both for mRNA and for protein expression also existed between the two sheep flocks. These findings are consistent with the known function of ADRB3 in mediating lipolysis and homeostasis in adipose tissues.