The best breeds of pigs for keeping at home



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


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

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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


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


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


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


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


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