Pigs are the cleanest of all farm animals. They are commonly known for their sociable, smart, sweet and kind nature, making them a great choice as pets. Pigs also are a great food source, capable of providing up to 150 pounds of pork products in as little as six months. Common breeds are Berkshire, Hampshire, and red wattle pigs.
Berkshire's are the oldest identifiable breed of pig and originally come from Berkshire County in England, now Oxfordshire County. These black hogs have white areas around their feet, tail and snout. Their backs are strong and arched with an overall muscular build. They have short necks, legs and snouts. Berkshires have an average of eight piglets per year and are great mothers. When used as food, they have a dark flavorful meat.
Hampshire pigs are have a black coat with a white front legs and and a white belt that goes around the shoulder area. They have upright ears and sound feet and legs. Efficient feeders and foragers, they are easy care pigs for beginners. Hampshire pigs are known to have long breeding lives and are excellent mothers.
Red Wattle Pigs
Red wattle pigs have small sporadic black markings on their solid red-toned skin. They have lean snouts, erect ears and lean heads. They can reach 500 pounds within a year, by the age of 3, they are capable of reaching 1,200 pounds. Red wattle pigs have a distinguishing trait, a cartilage filled wattle hanging from their lower jaw. The wattle hangs 1 to 5 inches in length at the neckline.
Large Black Pigs
Large black pigs are also known as Devon or Cornwall pigs, due to their place of origin, the Cornwall and Devon areas of England. They have black pigment skin and black hair located sporadically throughout their body. Their droopy ears frequently cover their entire face, reaching over their eyes and sometimes blocking their vision. Their meat is medium pink and finely textured, making them an excellent source for bacon and large hams. They easily maintain their weight and are capable of reproducing for up to nine years. They are prolific mothers with good maternal instincts. Large black pigs are easy to manage and feed on pasture.
Vietnamese Potbelly Pigs
Originally bred in Vietnam, potbelly pigs were sold to Canada as zoo animals. Today, they are most commonly used as domestic pets. Although they are a dwarf swine breed, the can easily reach up to 200 pounds within one year. Most well-fed domestic potbelly pigs can reach up to 1,500 pounds by the age of 5.
- Tommy AlsÃ©n/iStock/Getty Images