I initially got into Hampshire pigs, as they are the closest modern pig to the Saddlebacks. Indeed they were originally Saddlebacks exported from the UK to the USA a very long time ago.
Hampshire pigs are prick eared but have very similar markings to Saddlebacks and, in fact, can be mistaken for Saddlebacks by those not so familiar with the different breeds. The ears are the obvious difference but a closer comparison of a Hampshire and Saddleback will highlight a more muscled pig with more pronounced hams. Interestingly there is a prick eared gene in the Saddleback breed, which is also associated with a longer leaner pig.
The Hampshire boar is a terminal sire that adds eating quality and quick growth to commercial pigs, the ‘Suffolk’ of the pig world.
My Hampshire pigs in the Coal Yeast Herd are real comics. Being prick eared they are into everything yet are as placid and biddable as their rare British breed forefathers. Having prick ears gives them more awareness of their surroundings and therefore they are more curious than lop eared breeds.
Hampshire females are good mothers showing a placid temperament when suckling.
The Coal Yeast Herd of Hampshire pigs is very small yet produces award winning pigs. Our best result so far was reserve overall female champion at the Great Yorkshire Show 2011 with Coal Yeat Judy, when shown by my 8 year old granddaughter Imogen.
There are only a handful of pedigree Hampshire breeders in this country so I would advise if you were considering keeping Hampshires to think carefully about boar lines and access to a boar.
Hampshire semen is available from Deerpark but it is semen from more than one boar so any pigs bred could not be registered.
All the Coal Yeat Hampshire pigs are pedigree and individually registered with the BPA. The Hampshire is classified as a modern breed of pig.
Visit John's dedicated website here: www.saddlebackpigs.co.uk
Visit the British Pig Association page for Hampshire pigs here: www.britishpigs.org