East Balkan Pig

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Iztochnobalkanska Svinya

Източнобалканска Свиня, Smyadovo/Смядовска, Kamchiya/Камчийска, Ticha/Тичанска

The East Balkan pig is an indigenous Bulgarian breed, first recognized around 9th and 10th centuries. The main area of distribution is the area of Strandzha Mountain and East Stara Planina, or Balkan Mountains. The head is long with a straight profile and small ears. Medium in size, the body is robust with a well-built front part, a short neck, an arched back and a drooping croup. The limbs are short and strong. The whole body, except the belly, is covered with a smooth hairy coat. The color of the coat is black and the skin is gray-brown. The live body weight in sows is between 80-100 kg, while in boars it is between 100-200 kg. Animals usually need about 360 days to reach 100 kg live weight. They are feed mainly on natural pastures. The litter size is usually six piglets. The sows have a well-developed maternal instinct, and protect their piglets very fiercely.

The East Balkan pig is a very old breed, developed predominantly through natural selection with slight human interference. It is believed that in Bulgaria the breed appeared 2500 years ago with the Greek invaders from the city of Megara, located on the Ionian Sea, when they settled on the Black Sea coast. It is genetically close to the Mediterranean Turf pig, originating from the wild Sus scrofa scrofa species. After the transfer of that breed near the western coast of the Black Sea, it was crossed with Thracian Floppy-Eared pig. The economic use of this breed is for meat and lard. The meat of the East Balkan pig has a distinctive taste and high dietary value, due to fact that the pigs feed on natural pastures. The meat of the East Balkan pig is one of the main ingredients used for the preparation of the traditional Smyadovska lukanka (flat dry cured sausage). This product has unique taste, highly appreciated among consumers.

The natural habitat of the East Balkan pig was and still is the Eastern Stara Planina Mountains and the northern slopes of Strandja Mountain. In 2011 in Bulgaria, there were officially just 930 sows and 72 boars in 24 farms under breeding control. The breed is classified as “endangered-maintained”. Pig breeding in Bulgaria, of this breed and in general, has been in decline since the early 1980s. Many sows are slaughtered, resulting in endangerment of the breed.

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Territory

StateBulgaria
Region

Burgas

Shumen

Varna

Other info

Categories

Breeds and animal husbandry

Nominated by:Radostina Doneva
Arca del GustoThe traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.