New York Magazine and Heritage Breed Pigs

While the Berkshire and Mangalitsa (see What's a Hungarian Pig doing on Beacon Hill) have captured attention and palates of foodies, other breeds are coming to the fore. This New York Magazine breed identification chart  gives a good overview of many of the popular breeds.

It’s a reflection of the increased popularity of heritage breed pigs. Still, there are other breeds that remain largely unknown commercially. Categorized as “Critical” by the ALBC - fewer than 200 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 2,000; these breeds each need attention and support.

Other breeds to know:

Choctaw - largely feral there is rumored to be a population in Choctaw Nation museum/land trust. They have fused “mule-foot” and shape evolved more for wild rooting than for market carcass. They were brought to the US by the Spanish in the 1500s and their history is tied to the US governments “relocation” of Native populations.


Large Black - As the name implies these are both large and black in color. They are efficient outdoor pigs and have large litters. Their ears fully lop over their eyes. Though one of the more popular breeds in England in the 1800s and here in the US thought the 1920s they lost popularity in favor of the industrial breeds that thrive indoors. Today there may only 300 registered breeding Large Blacks in the US.

Mulefoot - I had my first heritage pork at Cochon in New Orleans. Mulefoot chop from the old RM Holliday herd which have since moved to Arie McFarlen’s Maverick Heritage Ranch.  Most of the remaining 200 breeding stock are thought to descend from the Missouri Holliday herd.

That's Beauregard, from Arie McFarlen

Guinea Hog - A smaller, lard-type hog, these pigs came to the US via the slave trade. They were and are valuable to homesteaders as excellent rooters, tillers,  and foragers clearing a yard of rodents, snakes, pests, and weeds. They fit well in a diversified, sustainable farm environment.

For more information:

Red Wattles at Jim & Wendy Parker's Heritage Farms NW