British Saddleback

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British Saddleback
Saddleback pigs (8125345518).jpg
Conservation statusFAO (2007): endangered-maintained
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Usedual-purpose, pork and bacon
  • Male:
    320 kg[1]
  • Female:
    270 kg[1]
  • Pig
  • Sus scrofa domesticus

The British Saddleback is a modern British breed of domestic pig. It was created in 1967 by merging the surviving populations of two traditional saddleback breeds, the Essex and Wessex Saddleback.[2]:224


The British Saddleback was created in 1967 by merging the remaining populations of two quite different traditional saddleback breeds, the Essex and the Wessex Saddleback, into a single herd-book. Both breeds had declined following the publication of the Howitt report in 1955, which found breed diversity to be a handicap to the pig industry in Britain, and established a policy of concentrating production on three breeds only: the Welsh, the British Landrace and the Large White.[3][4]

During the Second World War some 47% of the total pedigree sow registrations were from the Essex and Wessex breeds. In 1949 there were 2435 licensed Essex and Wessex boars, almost 25% of the total number. By 1954, sow registrations for the two breeds had fallen to 22% of the total, and fewer than 10% of registered boars were from the Essex and Wessex breeds. The recommendation of the time was to cross-breed saddleback sows with a white boar to produce a dual-purpose pig, for both pork and bacon production.[5]

The British Saddleback was listed as "endangered-maintained" by the FAO in 2007.[6]:121 The Rare Breeds Survival Trust lists it as a "minority breed" rather than a rare breed.[1] In 2012 the population was reported to be 882.[7]


The British Saddleback is large and deep in the body. It is black with a white saddle, sheet or band round the withers, shoulders and front legs; some white is allowed on the nose, tail and hind feet. It is lop-eared.[1]


The British Saddleback is hardy, forages well, and has good maternal qualities.[5] It is a dual-purpose breed, used for the production of both pork and bacon.[1] It has secured a niche in outdoor and organic production.[5]

Saddlebacks have been exported to Nigeria and the Seychelles where the pigs have performed on coarse grazing in hot climatic conditions.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e British Saddleback. Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Accessed November 2016.
  2. ^ Valerie Porter (editor), Ian Lauder Mason (2002). Mason's World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties (5th edition). Wallingford: CABI. ISBN 085199430X.
  3. ^ Official Policy to Focus on a Single Type of Pig. British Pig Association. Accessed November 2016.
  4. ^ Harold Gibson Howitt (1955). Development of pig production in the United Kingdom: report of the Advisory Committee on Development of Pig Production in the United Kingdom. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
  5. ^ a b c d The British Saddleback. British Pig Association. Archived 23 February 2008.
  6. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed November 2016.
  7. ^ British Saddleback/United Kingdom. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed November 2016.