Pig Breed Guide

A hog guide, for you to select the best swine for your farm.

| March/April 2009

  • Piglet brotherhood
    These piglets might grow up to be a financial boon to a farmer.
    Alan Carey/Photo Researchers Inc.

  • Piglet brotherhood
WEB EXTRA: Five Additional Pig Breeds 

On most farms, pigs are a staple. They are often a hardy bunch, which means care can be more simple than with other livestock, and they are able to dispose of food that otherwise might go to waste. For what you put into raising swine, the payout can be very good in terms of meat production, grass control with grazing, and the overall joy of raising this smart, jovial type of livestock.

In the March/April 2009 issue of Grit, we excerpted a book (Storey’s Illustrated Breed Guide to Sheep Goats Cattle and Pigs by Carol Ekarius, which you can purchase here) to bring you a swine breed guide. The following is GRIT’s guide, referencing both Ekarius’ book and the folks at Oklahoma State University.  

American Yorkshire

Yorkshire pigs were developed in York shire (county), England. In England, the breed is still known as the English Large White.

The majority of sources indicate the Yorkshire first landed in America in Ohio, around 1830, about 60 years prior to the formation of the American Yorkshire Club. From 1830 to the 1940s, the American Yorkshire breed experienced some ups and downs, and farmers were tough to sell on the breed. One reason is because back then, lard was selling for the same price as muscle, so there was little reason to raise hogs for meat.

There was a spike right around 1940, and from 1957 to 1972, around 500,000 Yorkshires were registered with the American Yorkshire Club, compared to 200,000 during the initial 64 years. During these years, the American Yorkshire gained national prominence.

Functionality: Bacon, ham, pork in general; maternal
Appearance: White; long, straight back; upright ears, smaller than that of the Landrace; black spots on the skin are accepted for registration, but are undesirable
Size: Large and long, comparable to Landrace
Population: Healthy U.S. population
Origin: Bred in England
Known for: Meat, mothering ability 

1/17/2020 2:04:08 PM

Forgot Red Wattle. Great heritage breed, also at risk. Great mothering instinct's like the Mulefoot. great ham's, bacon & lard. Great to cross with the mulefoot. :o)

8/20/2013 8:47:35 AM

Great article and resource. Thank you, Susan~Itzy Bitzy Farm

Lisa InFallbrook
12/1/2012 4:02:06 PM

Too bad you didn't include KuneKunes they are a great breed!

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