GLOUCESTER OLD SPOT
Probably one of the best known of all the British rare breed pigs it originally came from the Severn River valleys in Gloucestershire living mainly on a diet of the whey from the Gloucestershire cheeses and apples from the very prolific orchards in the area.
A wonderful pig that owes much of its success and survival to George Styles who in some circles is affectionately known as the ‘Grandfather of the Breed’. Thanks to his passion and interest the breed survived and flourished at a time when without such support we might have found ourselves with far fewer blood lines.
A good dual purpose pig that is both hardy and docile it is very much a ’smallholders’ pig and was known in its early days as the ‘Orchard’ pig. Lop eared with good mothering qualities the Gloucestershire Old Spots attraction to first time pig keepers can be well understood.
Originally known as the ‘Wessex Saddleback’ from the New Forest area
of England and the ‘Essex’ (excluding the word Saddleback) of East
Anglia. The two breeds combined in the 1960’s because numbers were
dropping so fast.
The two breeds were different with the ‘Essex’ having the broader
white saddle and four white feet as well as having a finer skin and a
lighter coat. The ears of the ‘Wessex’ tended to pitch forward more
and it was overall a broader pig that was stronger in the bone. A very
hardy dual purpose pig, good mother with long snout.
OXFORD SANDY & BLACK
Not recognised as a rare breed by the RBST because it is not yet breeding pure and is known as a ‘reconstituted’ breed. The breed society was formed in the late 1980’s and the foundation stock used could not be verified (other than by word of mouth) as being pure ‘Oxford Sandy & Black’ because there had been no herd book or registration for many years.
In any litter the piglets can range from all sand (looking like a ‘Tamworth’) to white or pale cream with black spots (looking like a ‘Gloucester Old Spots’) and occasionally almost black (very similar to a ‘Berkshire’). Whilst having such a variety of colours makes the litter very attractive the only pigs that can be registered are those that meet the following breed standards:
Sandy (Dark to light) with black blotches (not spots). Ears must be lop or semi lop and ‘prick’ ears are not acceptable Underline (number of teats) must be minimum 12 for a gilt or 14 for a boar White tip to tail, four white feet and a white blaze is an added bonus.
In the picture on the left only one weaner piglet would qualify for registration (third from left) with all the others being unsuitable although from similar litters.
This breed is renowned for the quality of pork and bacon that it produces and therefore as colour does not matter when it comes to rearing for meat there is always an outlet for unregistered pigs as ‘fattening’ stock. One of the best pigs for a first time pig keeper. Great personality, very docile, wonderful mother and easy to handle. This pig does not seem to have a bad bone in its body and is great where children are concerned. A pig that certainly ‘catches the eye’.
One of the most endangered of all our native breeds. Extremely hardy and can be kept outdoors all the year round. Excellent mothers, very docile and is well recognised as having a very good record as far as piglets born and reared is concerned. A good long pig that produces both excellent pork and first class bacon
Originally found in the South West of England in Cornwall and
particularly around the Tavistock area of Devon. Is closely linked with
the ‘Welsh’ and also the now extinct breeds of Cumberland and Ulster.
An all white pig with large lop ears which until the 1960’s was known as
the ‘National Long White Lop Eared’ pig.
Many stories surround the arrival of this wonderful long, lop eared pigs on our shores.
Historically an all black lop eared pig was not known in this country until some time after the arrival of Siamese and Neopolitan breeds.
There are many tales and stories that surround the possible way in which these pigs arrived in this country and one such story does seem to have some credibility when you return to the fact that the black pigs were mainly found in the south and south east of the country. It is said that when Chinese trading boats were making the long and tortuous journey to our shores they would always ensure that they had plenty of livestock on board to feed the crew, preventing scurvy, They could never be certain how long the journey would take or how long they would be at sea.
On this particular occasion it is said that two Chinese trading vessels made very good time with both landing early one in Plymouth and the other in London. A large number of surplus black pigs were supposedly unloaded at both places. The farmers in both East Anglia and Cornwall took a liking to them with the result that in the fullness of time the Large Black of today emerged.
It is certainly true that the big black pig bred in the south west became very popular abroad and is still known as the ‘Cornish Black’ in many parts of the world. It is also true that black and black pigs with a white saddle were found all around London within reach of the Thames basin. There is however no way in which one can prove the authenticity of the story as nice as it is.
With its fantastic lop ears it is often known as the ‘elephant pig’ because of the similarity the newly born piglets have to a very small black elephant. Viewed from behind, after just being born, their huge ears and little straight tail certainly make one think of a baby elephant.
In the early 19th century they were described as being one of the largest of all our pigs with very big heads and ears that were so long that they could hardly see which way they were going. This is still very much the situation even today.
This is, without any doubt, one of the more graceful, elegant members of the pig family.
Despite its size it is both docile and an excellent mother capable of rearing large litters and producing excellent bacon for the table. Really much more of a bacon pig than the smaller rounder and much chunkier pork pigs.
A truly great pig with prick ears, white blaze on the face, four white
feet and a white tip to the tail. Otherwise totally black. A pig of great
personality and very good temperament who has the sort of mothering
qualities that make farrowing and bringing up piglets
The ‘Berkshire’ is a traditional pork pig that produces some mouth
watering joints and chops with ‘crackling’ that is second to none. The
excellent carcass quality made it an early favourite with the Royal
Family who for years kept a large ‘Berkshire’ herd at Windsor Castle.
The first ‘Berkshire’ pig ever recorded was the boar ‘Ace of Spades’
bred by Queen Victoria.
Although not an English breed it is definitely a ‘Rare Breed’. In 1978 there were reputed to be only about fifty left in New Zealand but thanks to some very dedicated breeders the situation is now much improved.
Originally a feral pig that lived with the Maori tribes their name comes from the Maori as ‘Kune’ (pronounced Cooney) means fat and round. Therefore ‘Kune-Kune’ in Maori means very fat and very round.
* The Berkshire is new to us here at adoptabaconsandwich and we have reports that although the Berkshire may not reach the same size as the other traditional breeds, the meat is supposed to be exceptional. Therefore the Berkshire is excluded from our minimum weight guarantee until we have more experience of fattening this beautiful breed.
** The Kune-Kune is a slow growing pig typically taking up to a year to reach pork weight. They make superb sausages and are fantastic for a mini spit roast. They are excluded from our minimum weight guarantee however, but are ideal if you want a smaller pig.