Over the past few years it has become apparent that many people do not know what breed or type of pig they are buying. There are a lot of pigs to choose from, but when you are looking for a specific breed of pig, it is important that you know the characteristics of that breed. Especially what they look like. For instance, when we started raising pigs we had a couple sows that I now know were culls. They were all crossbreeds and showed poor characteristics that we had to remove them from our herd.
The object of this page is not to degrade the value of crossbred pigs, but to inform the public that there are specific traits and characteristics of each breed. There are many crossbred pigs that have been selectively produced to create specific results. These pigs are known as hybrids or super hybrids. We won’t be covering hybrid as they can be farm specific and are not typically a nationally recognized breed. What we are concerned with here are the traits and appearance of nationally recognized swine breeds. Example: If you are going to buy a Berkshire pig and you see that they have real floppy ears, you are not getting a Berkshire. It may be a Poland China hog, but Berkshires have erect ears. This is just an example, I’ll get more into the details of each breed as we progress through this article.
The information gathered for this article and our Breeds of Pigs page is from the breeders registry for each breed. Some registries cover multiple
breeds, while others are breed specific. But nevertheless, there are specific traits in each and every purebred pig. A Duroc is red, a Chester White is, well, white. etc,etc,etc.
So let’s start with Americas big four. The National Swine Registry handles the paperwork for Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace, and Yorkshires. According to their website: “TheNational Swine Registry formed in 1994 as a result of the consolidation of the American Yorkshire
Club, the Hampshire Swine Registry and the United Duroc Swine Registry.
In January 1998, the American Landrace Association joined the
NSR. These four
breed organizations are located in one central office in West
It’s safe to say that these guys know their pigs. They have been breeding, selling, showing, and judging hogs for
many years. And on the website are the qualifications and disqualifications for each breed along with the history of the breed. I am not going to get into all those details since the NSR has done all the work already. I will however show you what the pigs look like and give you the official breed markings and characteristics. After all, that’s why you’re reading this right?
Visit our Breeds of Pigs page to learn more