The Large Black is listed as endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. It was once one of the most popular breeds of pigs in Europe until pork production moved indoors by huge commercial hog operations. It is now being rediscovered.
The History of Large Black Hogs
The Large Black is believed to have been developed in the late 1800’s from Chinese breeds brought to England. They are a “bacon” type, or meat producer, instead of the “lard” type that was common in that day. They became known as the Devon or Cornwall pigs from their area of origin before becoming just the “Large Black.” Although there were a few importations in the mid-1900s, the largest import into the United States was in 1985 by Ag-World Exports.
They were originally raised for many reasons including their hardiness, mothering ability, milk production and prolificacy. The Large Black is a very efficient pork producer because it can glean a large portion of it’s food from grazing. Unlike many breeds of hog, their black skin protects them from sunburn and enables them to live outdoors on open pastures.