This list doesn’t focus on an pig’s ‘ ugliness ’, but on their strange and unusual characteristics. Yet they each serve an ecological purpose and these strange pigs are fascinating in their own right.
image by art g
The bearded pig, also known as the Bornean bearded pig. It can be recognized by its prominent beard. It also sometimes has tassels on its tail. It is found in Southeast Asia Sumatra, Borneo, the Malay Peninsula, and various smaller islands where it inhabits rainforests and mangrove forests. The bearded pig lives in a family. It can reproduce from the age of 18 months, and can be cross-bred with other species in the family Suidae. The San Diego Zoo was the first zoo in the western hemisphere to breed them.
image by brian gratwicke
The kunekune is a small breed of domestic pig from New Zealand. Kunekune are hairy, and have a dumpy build and can have wattles (or piri piri) hanging from their lower jaw. Colour ranges include black and white, ginger, cream, gold-tip, black, brown and tri-coloured. They have a placid, friendly nature and like the pot-bellied pig are now often kept as pets.
image by keith weller
The Meishan is a breed of domestic pig named for the Chinese prefecture of Meishan.Native to Southern China, the breed is best known for its large litters of 15-16 piglets. Due to its fecundity, it was imported to the United States in the late 1980s by the USDA Agricultural Research Service. However, it has not found much use in farms, as a result of its slower growth rates and abundance of fat. On the other hand, it reaches maturity very early, and both boars and sows carry traits that make them one of the most prolific breeds in the world.
image by joshua lutz
Considerably smaller than standard American or European farm pigs, most adult pot-bellied pigs are about the size of a medium or large-breed dog, though their bodies are denser at 8 to 136 kg.. Fat rolls over the eyes or a belly that touches the ground are visual indicators that a pig is overweight. In a pig of normal weight, hip bones can easily be felt with minimal pressure and the eyes (whole socket) should be easily visible. Pot bellied pigs can be easily discerned from other pig breeds by their size, upright ears, and straight tail. Not all pure sub species have a pot belly and a swayed back.
image by aloysius
Mangalitsa or Mangalica is a name for three breeds of pig grown especially in Hungary and the Balkans known also as a curly hair hog. It belongs to European unimproved lard type breeds that are descended directly from wild boar populations. The Mangalitsa pig is unusual as it grows a hairy ‘fleece’, akin to that of a sheep. The Mangalitsa was formerly bred as a lard pig, and animals were large and round. Because of the drop in demand for lard, the breed’s popularity has declined and it is now regarded as a “rare breed”.
image by darreenvt
The Gascon is a rare breed of domestic pig which has survived in the more mountainous and remote regions of France. Despite its endangered status, it has many valuable characteristics. Like most old-fashioned breeds, it is prone to becoming very fat, but it is vigorous, hardy, thrifty and tolerant of hot climates. The sows are prolific and have a good supply of milk for their litters.
image by ikai
The Turopolje pig is without doubt the oldest in Croatia and can therefore be considered one of the oldest in Europe. It came into being in the Turopolje region which is situated between the Kupa and Sava rivers east of Zagreb. Pig rearing in the Turopolje region certainly goes back to the pre-historical period and is a factor in the process of domestication.
image by sheila thomson
The Tamworth is a breed of domestic pig originating in the United Kingdom, with input from Irish pigs. It is among the oldest of pig breeds but as with many older breeds of livestock it is not well suited to modern production methods and is listed as “Threatened” in the United States and “Vulnerable” in the UK by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust as there are fewer than 300 registered breeding females. This animal is of ginger to red colouration and is thought to have descended from wild boars, via native pig stock of Europe.
image by david merrett
The Middle White is a breed of domestic pig native to the United Kingdom. It originated in Yorkshire roughly around the same time as the Large White. Its name comes from the fact that it was between the size of the Large White and the now-extinct Small White. It was fully recognized as a breed in 1884.The breed is known as a pork producer , and is best known for its sharply upturned snub nose. It is docile and often kept outdoors in grazing situations. Though its numbers have rebounded somewhat, the breed is listed as endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.