Berkshire Characteristics


Color: Black with white points (legs, face and tail) and pink skin. Dark-colored skin reduces sunburn.

Body type: Very deep-sided with a strong, uniform arch of back and muscular, firm build. Short neck and short, blocky legs with strong feet.

Head: Relatively short snout.
Seen from the side, the face has a slight dish-shape with a large jowl and an upturned nose. Ears are medium-sized and erect.

Size: Medium to large animals, around 600 pounds at maturity.

Temperament: Excellent disposition. Friendly and curious.
Production traits: Good mothering ability with high milk production. Hardy, performs well in outdoor operations.

The Hampshire pig is a domestic swine breed characterised by erect ears and a black body with a whitish band around the middle, covering the front legs.

The American National Swine Registry notes that this is the third “most recorded breed” of pigs in the United States, and probably the oldest American breed of hogs.[Full citation needed] It is thought that importations of this hog breed were made from Hampshire in England between 1827 and 1839.[1] Pigs remaining in this part of England developed later into the Wessex Saddleback, a similarly colored pig, but with flop ears.

Hampshire hogs have not noted for being well-muscled and rapid growers and for exhibiting good carcass quality in their capacity as meat animals.[2] When used as breeding stock, the sows of this breed have been praised for their capacity as mothers, having “extra longevity in the sow”. Hampshires are good tempered; they do not grow as fast as many cross-breds, but they do grow faster than Yorkshires.[3]

7 Reasons To Chose Berkshire Hogs:


Berkshire pigs provide true ‘heritage’ pork. They were recognized and prized for their eating
qualities over 300 years ago in England. They have the oldest recorded purebred swine pedigree
history in the U.S., starting in 1875.

Genetic Purity

The ABA pedigree registry system certifies genetic purity. The ABA Certified 100% Pure
Berkshire Pork program requires pedigree history on all breeding and market animals as well as
DNA testing for meat quality genes.

Traceability and Inspection

ABA Certified 100% Pure Berkshire Pork program links pork products to the farms of origin.
Producer farms, packers and processors are inspected and certified by ABA representatives.

Eating Quality

The National Barrow Show® Sire Progeny Tests have been sponsored annually by Hormel
Foods, National Association of Swine Records and Iowa State University since 1991. Meat
quality and eating quality trait results confirm the premium position of the 100% Pure Berkshire
pork. Berkshire pork ranks at or near the top for:
• High Ultimate pH Score- relates to low cooking loss, better water-holding capacity, high
degree of tenderness
• Loin Firmness / Drip Loss- results in improved processing quality, tenderness
• Meat Color- consumers consistently prefer darker pork
• Cooked Loin Quality- high scores for intramuscular fat percent, tenderness and juiciness all
predict better consumer satisfaction

Continued Superiority

The National Barrow Show® Progeny Test is open to all purebred and crossbreds. Nearly 300
Berkshire sire groups have been evaluated, more than any other breed. In 2009, 20 of the 40 sire
groups were purebred Berkshires. Berkshire breeders are committed to documentation and
improvement of their pork products. ABA Certified 100% Pure Berkshire Pork continues to excel
all other breeds in meat quality attributes.

International Recognition

Japanese consumers have a special name for the Berkshire breed. They call it Kurobuta, or
“black pig”. Because pork from the purebred Berkshire is so tender, juicy and flavorful, the
Japanese have long recognized the value of Berkshire pork. Much of the ABA Certified 100%
Pure Berkshire Pork produced in the United States is being exported to Japan.

Stockmanship and Animal Welfare

Purebred Berkshires are raised by farmers who are proud of their animals and dedicated to
producing a product desired by consumers. Purebred Berkshire pigs are more sensitive to their
environment than crossbred pigs. Berkshire pig producers must be excellent caretakers.

These statements are from The American Berkshire Association

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