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Top 10 Pig Breeds for Beginners

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If you’re just getting started with pig farming, there is nothing to worry about because there are many pig breeds that make good first-time animals.

You will find that some breeds are easier than others to raise while some require more upkeep and care. Pigs are a common farm animal in many parts of the world and have been domesticated for centuries.

Pigs are one of the most versatile animals farmed for their meat, milk, and skin (used to make gloves, shoes, and other leather goods).

As a beginner who is pondering over which breed to take, there are some important points you should consider before you decide which type of pig you want to raise.

  • Do you want a pig to produce meat for sale?
  • Do you want a pig as a pet for the family?
  • Do you want a pig for breed preservation?

It will be easier to shop for a pig breed suitable for your needs if you know exactly what you want. Have a look at the list below to see which pig breed is ideal for you.

Beginner Pig Breeds

berkshire pig

1. Berkshire

The Berkshire pig originates from England in Berkshire county, and as a  beginner pig farmer, you will appreciate its medium size and friendly nature. Thus an excellent breed as starter pigs. They also have some of the tastiest meat around.

  • Color: They are predominantly black with a white face mask, white legs, and white tail tip.
  • Weight: boar weighs about 600 pounds when fully grown. Sow weighs approximately 500 pounds when fully grown.
danish duroc

2. Duroc

Originally from Africa and transported to England in the slave trade era, the Duroc pig has become one of the most loved pig breeds.

They are the least aggressive of pig breeds, thus an excellent breed for beginner pig farmers. They have partial drooping ears and are large, muscular, and are of medium length.

Durocs grow faster compared to other pig breeds. They also produce large litters of about 10-15 piglets. This breed is less stressful to raise and produces high yield, thus very profitable. They are raised for lard and meat.

  • Color: Light golden-red to dark brown.
  • Weight: Boar weighs 500-750 pounds, sow weighs 450-650 pounds.
red wattle pig

3. Red Wattle

Also known as the Red Wattle Hog. This pig breed is distinguished by the wattles that hang on the sides of its neck.

The Red Wattle pig is a hardy breed and an excellent forager, thus easy to feed. They are beginner-friendly because of their docile nature, and they do well in confined spaces.

Red Wattle is primarily found in North America and is very resistant to diseases. As a beginner, you will be happy to know that they grow fast and are mild-tempered. They usually produce 10-15 piglets per litter.

  • Color: Red, some have black patches, some have red and black hair.       
  • Weight: The boar weighs approximately 700-800 pounds. Sow weighs 600-700 pounds.
landrace pig

4. Landrace

The Landrace pig breed was developed and produced in Denmark by crossbreeding the Danish native pig and the Large white pig breed.

This breed is perfect for beginners as it can breed very well with other pig breeds. They grow very fast and are excellent for meat production.

They have a high milk production rate to feed their litter. The piglets are usually large-sized, unlike other piglets who tend to be small.

  • Color: Landrace pigs have white skin with no black hair.
  • Average weight: Boar weighs 500-700 pounds. Sow weighs 450-600 pounds.
black pigs

5. Large Black

Large black pigs are good for people who have large families since they are known as good breeders. Their mothering skills are also very strong, and it is relatively easy for you to train them to be pets or show animals.

Large black pigs do not require too much space, do well in simple outdoor settings, and they are said to be very intelligent for pigs. They are docile and hardy, thus ideal for a wide range of weather conditions.

  • Color: Black
  • Average weight: Boar weighs 700-800 pounds. Sow weighs 600-700 pounds.
spotted pig

6. Spots (Spotted Swine)

They are usually black but have a few white spots scattered around their body. You can breed Spot pigs with any other pig breed, resulting in offspring having more or fewer spots than the original.

They are always bred for their sweet-tasting meat because their fat is dispersed in smaller chunks than other pig breeds.

They are hardy, thus can handle cold weather very well. They are mild-tempered, and the piglets tend to grow very fast.

  • Color: Black with white spots
  • Weight: Boar weighs 600 pounds. Sow weighs 500 pounds.
hampshire pig

7. Hampshire

The Hampshire pig is a type of pig bred in the United Kingdom for its meat and bacon. In their native country, they are prized for being easy to care for, good-tempered, and hardy.

They can thrive on a variety of food and are often kept in small numbers for household production.

Hampshire pigs are a light-boned, small-framed breed. They have been selectively bred for an incredibly long body and large litters of piglets, allowing for a relatively high growth rate and efficiency in raising young.

  • Color: Black with a white belt across the shoulders.
  • Weight: Boar weighs approximately 600 pounds. Sow weighs about 550 pounds.
poland china pig

8. Poland China

Poland China pig is an American breed that was cross-bred with several European-origin pig breeds. Poland China is a large pig breed when fed well and is mainly bred for meat and lard. They are always at maximum weight at whatever age. 

  • Color: It is primarily black and can sometimes have white patches on the face, tail tip, and feet.
  • Weight: Boar weighs approximately 600 pounds, while sow weighs around 500 pounds.
Yorkshire pigs finding food in the mud

9. Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Pig is one of the oldest breeds in the world. It is among the four major British breeds of domestic pig.

This breed is well known for its characteristic top-shape ears and moderate activity levels. You can find this breed in Britain, Ireland, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

The Yorkshire has a double coat, made up of a woolly outer layer and a short, dense, smooth undercoat.

The Yorkshire Pig is an older, more primitive breed. It was one of the oldest breeds and was used for breeding smaller pig breeds because of its large size.

  • Color: Light pink.
  • Weight: Boar weighs between 550- 600 pounds. Sow weighs 450-650 pounds.

10. Chester White

Chester White is the fastest-growing pig in Europe and is also one of the most popular pig breeds.

Its two-colored coat makes it the ideal pig for farming in cold regions where other breeds would not be able to survive. Chester White pigs are mainly kept for meat production.

Chester White pigs are well suited to farming conditions, have a mild temperament, and they are also easy to manage, thus making them a good choice to consider as a beginner pig breeder.

  • Color: White or pink skin.
  • Weight: Boar weighs 550 – 800 pounds. Sow weighs 500 – 600 pounds.
chester white pigs eating feeds

Taking Care of Your Pigs

As a beginner, you can start with a few seasonal piglets to test the best breed for your environment. You should build a fence and make sure it is strong enough to keep your pigs in.

You can also introduce a new pig breed into your herd for cross-breeding purposes to add the vitality necessary for survival.

For effective pig breeding, it is essential to provide:

  • A water bath (Wallow) so that the pigs can play in the mud to keep them cool. The mud will also offer an extra layer of protection to prevent them from getting sunburned.
  • Always supply the pigs with clean water for drinking.

When it comes to feeding your pigs, you should know that pigs are omnivores thus eat animals and plants. They are also foragers, therefore do not be surprised to see them eating worms, insects, grains, roots, grass, fruits, and more. Pigs get their dose of minerals from rooting in the dirt.

Whenever you are not sure of what best to feed your pig or any other animal, you should always consult a nutritionist before feeding your pigs any food. This is because the taste of their meat can be greatly affected by what you feed them.

However, a variety of feed will significantly benefit pigs as their diet is not limited. You can feed them scrap vegetables, wheat, corn, leftover foods like bread. Some breeders feed them corn to help them gain weight faster.

In Conclusion

Pigs have been an essential part of the human food supply for thousands of years. While pigs are no longer raised as a primary food source, many still keep pigs around as pets for breed preservation.

Pigs are well-suited for organic gardening and produce nutrient-rich manure for composting.

They are a rewarding animal to raise, and the meat from a pig can be a delicious addition to any meal.