Large Black Pigs- Padlock Mountain Pork

The Large Black pig, originally known as the Lop Eared Black,  was selected for large size and efficiency of production onpasture and other forages.  Native to Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset in southwestern England the Large Black gained popularity rapidly and was used in small scale production of both pork and bacon.  It was also ­valued for commercial crossing, primarily with the Large White breed (called Yorkshire in the United States). This cross yielded great hybrid vigor, and it was well regarded commercially.  After World War II, however, the shift toward intensive husbandry of pigs led to the decline of outdoor breeds that were not competitive under confinement conditions. The Large Black nearly became extinct during the 1960s, and it remains one of the rarest breeds.  In 1973 the breed was put on Rare Breed Survival Trust’s critically endangered livestock list.

Large Blacks are large framed and solid black.  Large floppy ears fall forward over its face, and while they are an impediment to sight, they protect the eyes from damage while the pig is rooting and foraging. The Large Black is best known for its foraging abilities and its maternal qualities. Large Black sows are able to raise and wean large litters of piglets out of doors, and these survival characteristics give it genetic value.  Mature boars can weigh 700-800 lbs and sows reach 600-700 lbs.

Because of the increased consumer interest in pasture raised pork, Large Black hogs are beginning to be recognized as a great choice in pastured management systems.  In the US there are approximately 300 breeding Large Black hogs as of 2008.

Farm Manager, Scott Bates frequently spends time with our Large Black breeding stock.  Shown here are Albert and Buddy, both about 400-450 lbs at 2 years old.  You can visit the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy ALBC for more information about Large Blacks and other endangered and heritage breeds of livestock.