Berkshire pigs are rare, but they're most common in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. They are also bred in the Kagoshima prefecture in Japan. These pigs are one of the rarest domesticated pig breeds in existence. They are known for being excellent working animals with a friendly temperament.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Mammalia
Order – Artiodactyla
Family – Suidae
Genus – Sus
Species – S. scrofa domesticus
Common Names – Berkshire Pig, Berkshire Swine, Kagoshima Kurobuta (in Japan, meaning "Kagoshima Black Pig")
Berkshires can grow to be over 600 lbs. They have short legs, a short nose and upright "prick" ears. Coloration is black with white on the face, feet, and sometimes tail.
When Berkshire pigs were brought to the United States, the breed was quickly interbred with local pigs to improve the existing stock, due to the desirable qualities of the Berkshire. The breed suffered, but in 1875 the American Berkshire Association was founded with a focus on preserving the purity of the breed. At that time it was decided that only Berkshires imported from England or tracing their lineage back to imported hogs would be considered for registration.
Berkshires are known for their excellent disposition and curious, friendly nature. They are hardy pigs that are well-suited for the outdoors and working environments.
Berkshire pigs are highly intelligent and can learn tricks and commands.Their clever nature and pleasant disposition, along with their general hardiness, makes them highly desirable to farmers.
According to legend, these pigs were encountered 300 years ago in the shire of Berk in England. The original Berkshire pigs were larger than today's pigs and were reddish or a sandy brown color, in contrast to the current coloration of black bodies with white feet and noses. The introduction of Siamese and Chinese pigs led to the modern day Berkshire swine. The Berkshire was first imported to the United States in the 1820s.
The Berkshire pig is a very rare type of pig, and as of 2008 there are fewer than 300 breeding females (sows) left in the world. The breed is listed as "vulnerable" and are officially classified as a "rare breed".