Gloucestershire Old Spots: ALBC Status: “Critical”
The Gloucestershire Old Spots is a historic pig breed known for its distinctive white coat with black spots. The breed was developed in the Berkley Vale of Gloucestershire, England, during the 1800s.
Gloucestershire (pronounced Glostersheer) pigs were selected as excellent foragers and grazers. The pigs are thrifty, able to make a living from pasture and agricultural by products, such as whey from cheese making, windfall apples in orchards, and the residue from pressing cider. These easy keeping qualities gave Gloucestershire Old Spots the nicknames “cottage pig” and “orchard pig.” British folklore claims the large black spots are bruises caused by the apples falling onto them as they foraged the orchard floors for food.
The Gloucestershire Old Spots pig is known for its docility, intelligence, and prolificacy. Boars reach a mature weight of 300 lbs (136 kg) and sows 275 lbs (125 kg). The pigs are white with clearly defined black (not blue) spots. There must be at least one spot on the body to be accepted in the registry. The breed’s maternal skills make it able to raise large litters of piglets on pasture. Its disposition and self‑sufficiency should make it attractive for farmers raising pasture pigs and those who want to add pigs to diversified operations.
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