According to the Rare Breed Survival Trust these pigs are ‘At Risk’. This means there are less than 500 breeding sows registered in this country.
The British Saddleback, formed in 1967, is the result of the amalgamation of the Essex and Wessex Saddleback. These two pigs shared similar colouration but had different characteristics. The Wessex Saddleback originated in the New Forrest. It was entirely black except for a band of white hair stretching over its shoulders and down its forelegs. The Essex pig was developed in East Anglia and like the Wessex Saddleback was mainly black. However in addition to the wide band of white across the shoulders and down the forelegs it had white back legs and a white tip to the tail. The Essex Pig was considered to be the fancier pig ‘the gent’s pig’ whilst the Wessex Saddleback was ‘the farmer’s choice’. Both Breeds were very popular during the second World War when nearly half the total pedigree sow registrations were from the Essex or the Wessex. Sadly though, when the industry started to favour intensive production other breeds replaced these pigs.
We’re hoping they will help us control the invasive Bracken in a natural and environmentally friendly way.