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The best breeds of pigs for keeping at home

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The best breeds of pigs for keeping at home

A look at some of the most popular pig breeds for keeping at home

 

Berkshire

A traditional pork pig, renowned for its crackling. White blaze on the face, four white trotters and white tip to tail

Hampshire

A black body with a white belt across its shoulders. Prick-eared, it’s more alert than its lop-eared counterparts. Intelligent, but can be headstrong. Lean meat

Middle White

Originally from the north of England, it’s one of the breeds classified as endangered. It has large pricked ears with distinctive feathering around the tips. Good-natured and talkative

British Saddleback

Broad white saddle and four white feet, black head, body and tail, distinctive longer snout. Known for being very maternal

Landrace

White lop-eared pigs more suited to living indoors, a lean breed that grows quickly. A long carcass makes it perfect for bacon

Oxford Sandy and Black

Piglets range from sand to white with black spots or black. Good-quality pork and bacon. A perfect first-timer’s pig very docile and easy to handle

British Lop

One of the most endangered of the native breeds (along with Middle White), originally from Devon. Extremely hardy and can live out all year round. An all-white pig with large lop ears. Excellent pork and bacon

Large Black

Originally imported from China, these all-black pigs have lop ears. They produce large litters and excellent bacon

Pietrain

Medium-sized white pig with black spots each spot is surrounded by an area of lighter pigmentation. High yield of lean meat

Duroc

Very hardy, with thick auburn coats that are hairy in winter and bald in summer. Docile, maternal and outdoorsy, they produce very tender meat

Large White


A popular commercial breed that originates from Yorkshire, very strong b ut straightforward to rear. They have all-white skin and produce good lean meat

Tamworth

A long-legged ginger pig, with large pricked-up ears and a long snout. Giving high-quality pork and bacon, this is a large, loving and talkative pig that can be boisterous

Gloucester Old Spot

Probably the best-known rare-breed pig. Hailing originally from the Severn River valleys, it’s both hardy and docile the perfect smallholder’s pig. Mainly white body with intermittent black spots and lop ears

Swallow-bellied Mangalitza

A distinctive curly coat makes this rare breed, originally from Austria and Hungary, stand out. Known as the ‘woolly pig’, it can be blonde, red or swallow-bellied (black with a white stomach). Currently too rare to be eaten

Welsh

Generally a yellow-white colour, but some are spotted black and white. Lop ears that meet at the tips, just above the nose. A very hardy breed, it produces good-quality meat, especially ham

Comments

Angela

You say that some are better for bacon, whereas others are better for ham. Would breeding two species produce an animal with favorable traits in both? Which would you recommend for a homestead looking for choice of cuts?

kipngetich bett

i would like to keep pigs which are the best type for commercials purposes ?

gwen Howell

You say the Manalitza is too rare to be eaten - I've eaten it and it tastes fantastic! We breed Manalitza's, swallow bellied, and red and blonde. We've a beautiful blonde, curly sow called Marylin Monroe (of course) and a black swallow belly known as Shirley Bassey!
You can see more of them on my blog at www.pigsinclover.co.uk. Also see this month's Taste Shropshire Magazine

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