Large Black Pigs
The Large Black, is as the name suggests is a large pig that is all black in colour. In the 2011 survey undertaken by the BPA there were only 335 sows of which 175 of these were breeding pure progeny. The RBST categorise the Large Black as ‘Vulnerable’ in the 2011 Watchlist. Due to an increase in the numbers of British Lop pigs, the Large Black is now our most rare native breed of pig.
Marvellously versatile breed
The Large Black in a very un-aggressive pig, and their lop-ears obscure the vision and helps their quiet temperament. This docile nature means that the outdoor Large Black pig can be kept in using a single strand of electric fence.
The colour of their skin means they are not prone to sunburn as with white breeds.
The Large Black sow produces large litters with an abundance of milk, which means good weaning weights.
It is often thought that because they have black skin this will lead to black meat. This is not true, there is just a surface pigmentation which is removed during the butchery process leaving a white rind.
The Large Black is a very hardy breed, and is noted for being able to live happily outdoors gaining much of its nutrition from grass, with simple rations.
History of the Large Black Pig
It is said that the Large Black pig originates from the Old English Hog, although some believe that they are descendants of Asian pigs introduced by traders to East Anglia and Cornwall. By the late 1880’s there were two distinct types predominantly found in East Anglia and Devon & Cornwall. They were not officially recognised as a breed until in 1899 the Large Black Pig Society was formed. This led to an increase in stock numbers, and exchange of stock between the two regions.
In the early part of the 20th Century, the Large Black was found in large numbers throughout the country. The 1921 herd book contained over 10,000 entries. They were frequently used for crossing with Large Whites and Middle Whites to produce bacon and pork pigs. In 1935 the Large Black was exported to over 30 countries.
The introduction of intensive and large-scale pig units in the early 1960’s and the consumers quest for fat-less meat led to a sharp decline in breed numbers. In 1981 there were only 111 registrations.
Today, the Large Black pigs can be found throughout the British Isles, mainly in small herds.