Pig Breed Guide
(Page 4 of 5)
The Large Black has its origins in Devon and Cornwall, two areas in the southwest part of England. They are, indeed, large – just a little smaller than Yorkshires – and always black. The big, droopy ear is another distinguishing characteristic of the Large Black. This breed was imported to America in 1985 – because of their productivity in rough conditions – and they also exist in South Africa and Australia.
Functionality: Meat – predominately bacon
Appearance: Always black, gray skin with black hair; big, floppy ears and a long snout
Size: Large, slightly smaller than Yorkshires
Population: Listed as Critically Endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
Origin: England in the Devon and Cornwall areas
Known for: Production in rough conditions; very tasty meat, especially bacon
The Large White breed is the top breed in England. And if you consider the Yorkshires in the United States direct descendents of the Large White, this is the most popular breed worldwide. Nearly every country in the world that values swine and swine production has, at one point or another, imported the Large White. This breed and its descendent Yorkshire are found in all crossbreeding involving three or more pigs worldwide. Most popular (or at least known as Large White) in England and Northern Ireland.
Functionality: Excellent quality of meat; great maternal qualities
Appearance: White; smallish, upright ears; long body with a straight back
Population: Largest of any breed
Known for: A rugged, hardy breed where the sows have large litters, high milk production and good maternal instincts. Also, very tasty meat.
Mulefoot pigs are named for a quality that distinguishes them along with Choctaw breed; they have syndactyl hooves much like a mule or horse. Also, this breed is unique to the United States, but is critically rare at this time. The origin of the Mulefoot pig is not known, but they were found in Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, throughout the southwest and in parts of Mexico.
The Mulefoot won a recent blind taste test comparing pork of eight different heritage breeds. The event was held January 26, 2009, at Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Virginia.
Functionality: Meat, lard
Appearance: Most often black; syndactyl hoof; long snout
Size: Medium, 400 to 600 pounds at 2 years old
Origin: United States
Known for: Syndactyl hooves; hardiness and foraging ability
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