Saddleback sow stood side on in field

Key Characteristics

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.

  • 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.

History

  • 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.

Uses

The breed is dual purpose and makes a good pork pig or bacon pig if taken to heavier weights. The meat is much in demand and suited to direct marketing.

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). 

Breed Societies

For more information visit British Pig Association