Five Additional Pig Breeds

To complement "GRIT's Guide to Pigs," here are five more swine breeds to consider

| March/April 2009

  • Saddleback pig
    The white belt is a very recognizable appearance trait in Saddlebacks.
    courtesy BBC Suffolk
  • American Landrace pig
    The American Landrace pig, which came as a result of exportation from Denmark, is known for the quality of its meat, and sows are known for being prolific reproducers.
    courtesy Kenneth Mutch,

  • Saddleback pig
  • American Landrace pig

As promised in the March/April issue of Grit (“Grit’s Guide to Pigs”), here are five more breeds for you to consider adding to your property. The information came from Oklahoma State University, at

American Landrace 

Landrace pigs were originally bred in Denmark, and it was due in large part to this pig that Denmark had such a booming bacon-export business. In 1934, the U.S. Department of Agriculture received a shipment of (24, according to Carol Ekarius in her book, Storey’s Illustrated Breed Guide to Sheep Goats Cattle and Pigs) Landrace pigs from Denmark. Originally, the foundation for the American Landrace breed were pigs directly descended from the original imports, or those with a slight infusion of the Poland China breed. Shortly thereafter, 38 boars and gilts were imported from Norway carrying Norwegian, Danish and Swedish Landrace blood. These three variations of the Landrace are bred with the American Landrace today, broadening the breed’s genetic make-up.

Hair on an American Landrace must be white for registration, and dark white spots are seen as undesirable. Freckles on the skin are permitted, but black hairs are not.

FUNCTIONALITY: Meat, and sows are known for milk-producing and being prolific reproducers
APPEARANCE: White; long, straight back, with 16 or 17 pairs of ribs; muscular, even lean build; hams plump but trim; long rump; head long and narrow, while ears are flat, large, heavy and carried close to the face
SIZE: Large with long back
PLACE OF ORIGIN: United States (for the American Landrace), original Landrace from Denmark
KNOWN FOR: Milk production, good maternal proliferation


The Lacombe breed was originally conceptualized and bred at the Canadian Department of Agriculture Research Station in Lacombe, Alberta; hence the name. The foundation stock was formed by taking top Berkshire sows from Canada and mating them with imported Landrace-Chester White crossbred boars from the United States. It took 12 years of selective breeding to arrive at the desired genetic output that is present today. In 1954, all Lacombes that entered the breed were backcrossed with Berkshires, and any offspring with black hair were taken out of the gene pool.

In 1957, Lacombe boars were made available to the public, and the first sows a year later. At that time, they were estimated to contain 56 percent Landrace, 23 percent Berkshire and 21 percent Chester White blood.

Jan Hoadley_1
3/17/2009 1:39:06 PM

Unfortunately the Saddleback is no longer of viable population in the US and if not already will be extinct. This official designation change by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy puts them at "watch" with not a sustainable breeding population to even recover. :-( Perhaps in the UK it's different but not in the USA. I'm not sure where your info comes from - it appears UK. Welsh pigs only come up on UK sites. But for an American audience this info is not accurate.



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