The Saddleback is known to be a very hardy breed well suited to an extensive system. Average litter size in 2009 was around 9.98 piglets and the breed has excellent maternal instincts. The breed is very docile and suited to outdoor systems.
- The British Saddleback is the amalgamation of two breeds: the Wessex Saddleback and the Essex.
- There were black and white belted pigs in the west country as far back as the early 19th century and they were much renowned for their bacon.
- The Wessex Saddleback breed developed and remained popular and the first herd book was published in 1918.
- The Essex was a breed of similar age and renown and the first herd book was also published in 1918.
- The Wessex was always more numerous than the Essex and by the 1960s with the pig industry heavily focusing on white breeds the Wessex and Essex were amalgamated to form the British Saddleback in 1967.
- The breed is now considered Minority rather than Rare and is spread throughout most of the UK.
- A large, lop eared, deep bodied pig.
- Sows weigh around 270kg and boars, 320kg.
- Black body with white band around the saddle and the front legs.
- The hind feet, nose and tail can also be white.
- There can be considerable variation in type as you would expect in a breed that is an amalgamation of two separate strains.
Did you know?
Both the Wessex Saddleback and the Essex are extinct in their original form (although there has been a re-creation of the Essex breed).
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the United Kingdom's rare native breeds of farm animals from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants and donations from the public to raise the £700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare UK native breeds of farm animals. Visit www.rbst.org.uk to see how you can help.