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Pigs

Pot-bellied pig

Mudchute is home to several rare and native pig breeds. Pigs are the domesticated relatives of the wild boar (Sus scrofa). The native pig of the British Isles was a large, lop-eared animal kept in pannage systems and backyards. These pigs were crossbred with small, fat, prick-eared pigs from Asia during the 18th century to form the bass of all native British breeds.

 
tamworthpig

Tamworth pig

Descended from the old indigenous species the European wild boar, which is where the red colouring comes from. The Tamworth is recognised as the purest British breed of pig and is regarded as being of a rather primitive type, being a very distinctive pig with long legs, prick ears with a pure red or ginger coat. This however has not always been the case. Around 1800 it was said to be much smaller with shorter legs and ears that were far less prominent. As far as colour was concerned it was described as "spotted red and brown".

Old pictures of the Tamworth show it to have been anything from white or pale ginger with black spots to a ‘red and black' pig. It closely resembled the picture painted by Low of the old ‘Berkshire' and it was not a million miles away from the current requirements of the ‘Oxford Sandy & Black'.

The Tamworth is one of the great ‘dual purpose' pigs producing stunningly good pork as well as equally tremendous bacon. In the mid 1990's the Tamworth came top in a taste test carried out by Bristol University using both commercial and rare breed pigs in a scientifically controlled experiment. It was later suggested that further investigation should take place to establish just what it was that gave the Tamworth meat such a distinctive taste putting it way above all the other breeds. Discover more about Tamworths from the Tamworth Breeder's Club

 
largeblackpig

Large Black pig

The large black is Britain’s only all black breed of pig and they have an interesting origin story. It is said that two boatloads of all black pigs from China docked in Cornwall and East Anglia and these individuals were used to breed with the local pigs, resulting in the beginnings of the breed. As the name suggests, these are a large breed and our piglets will weigh in the region of 300kg each as adults! Parkinson’s 1810 description of this native breed includes the following note on their impressive size “They are distinguished by their gigantic size, they are the largest of the kind I have ever seen, and as perfect a make as possible in pigs … their heads are large, with very long ears hanging down on each side of the face, so they can scarcely see their way”.

To find out more about this rare native breed, visit the RBST page on Large Blacks as well as the Large Black Pig Breeders Club which was founded in 1889.

middlewhitepig

Middle White pig

The Middle White traces its roots to the 1852 Keighley Agricultural Show in West Yorkshire where Joseph Tuley showed some pigs that were not sufficiently large for the class, but “as the merits of these pigs were so extraordinary, entirely forbidding recourse to disqualification, a committee was summoned, whereupon the judges declaring that, if removed from the Large White class the pigs would not be eligible for the Small White class”. The breed went on to become one of the foundation breeds of the British Pig Association.

Middle Whites are a stocky and compact breed with a snub nose and large prick ears. The breed was known as “The London Porker” because of high demand for Middle White pork in the capital. Find out more about Middle White pigs from the Middle White Pig Breeder's Club.

 
potbellied pig

Pot-bellied Pigs

The pot-bellied pig is a breed of domesticated pig originating in Vietnam. They are considerably smaller than other domestic breeds, growing to the size of a large dog, but weighing 8-136 kg (20-300lb). Unlike our other pigs, pot-bellied pigs have upright ears and a straight tail.

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