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"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 an each side of the face, so they can scarcely see their way"

Parkinson 1810

Origins

One of this country's oldest pig breeds, the Large Black had its origins in the Old English Hog of the 16th and 17th centuries. By the late 1800's the main strongholds of the breed were in East Anglia and Devon & Cornwall, and two distinct types of pigs were produced. The founding of the Large Black Pig Society in 1889 led to an increase in the exchange of stock between breeders in the two localities.

In the early part of this century Large Blaacks became more widely distributed, and were frequently crossed with Large White and Middle White to produce both porkers and baconers.

The Large Black enjoyed considerable success in both the Show and Sale ring. At Smithfield Show in 1919 the Supreme Championship was awarded to a Large Black sow subsequently sold for 700 guineas. In the same year Large Blacks outnumbered all other breeds at the Royal Show, with 121 being exhibited.

Overseas

Their hardiness and ability to withstand sun-burn made the Large Black suitable for a wide variety of climatic conditions. By 1935 they had been exported to well over 30 countries world wide In 1949 the Large Black Pig Society merged with the National Pig Breeders Association, later named the British Pig Association. The BPA. provide facilities for Birth and Herd-book notifications, and are concerned with all aspects of pedigree breeding and showing.

Survival

A change in demand by the meat trade, and a developing prejudice against "coloured" pigs, led to a severe decline in numbers throughout the 1960's. The creation of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in 1973 led to the Large Blacks being placed on the Trust's list of critical breeds.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust continues to monitor the individual blood lines within the breed on an annual basis. The trust has also taken semen from various boars for long term storage. From time to time they also provide a boar at A.I.

Club

Today the Large Black is to be found throughout the British Isles. They are mainly kept in small herds, a few of which date back to well before World War 2. The Large Black Pig Breeders Club was founded to bring together breeders to further promote this excellent breed. Anyone can be a member.

[Origins] [Breed standards]

 

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