Sometimes also known as the British Black, the Large Black Pig is one of the oldest of
British pig breeds, with its origins coming from the Old English Hog of the 16th and 17th centuries. Despite their large size, large blacks have a docile temperament and are considered to be very hardy.
For pigspotters out there, the large black is the only British pig which is wholly black. Large Black pigs are present in a number of countries including the UK, Australia, Canada and the United States of America. The breed is native to the Devon and Cornwall.
The Large Black resulted from the amalgamation of black pigs from south-west England with those of East Anglia. In 1810, they were described by the British Pig Association as, “…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.” The dead weight of the large black is said to be almost twice that of some commercially reared pigs.
During the late 19th century, the breed gained in popularity. In 1898 a breed association was formed and by 1900 large blacks were one of the most populous British pig breeds. In the early 1900s, the Large Black was exported to mainland Europe, South America, Africa and Australia and New Zealand. Popularity peaked in the 1920s, however, and after World War II, population numbers declined as with so many rare breeds today because farmers began to favour breeds that would do well in intensive indoor settings. During the 1960s the breed almost became extinct, and in 1973 it was placed on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust endangered livestock list. According to the Large Black Pigbreeders Club the large black is now the most rare of all rare breed pigs in the UK.
Our pigs live in luxurious arks in open fields with sheep for company. We move them around on a regular basis as we do not want them to live in mud. We are currently breeding from them to produce meat and further breeding stock.
Some people are surprised to learn that pigs seldom foul their houses. Despite their reputation as being dirty, pigs are in fact some of the cleanest of farmyard animals.