Oxford Sandy and Black Pig

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Oxford Sandy and Black Pig

A medium sized pig, it’s known for its free and active gait. It has a fairly strong straight or dished head, with ears that are either lopped or semi lopped. The breed gets its name from its distinctive coat, which is unsurprisingly sandy with black spots. It is a very visually attractive pig as well as being calm and a prolific breeder. A natural browser and forager it finishes quickly, an advantage for farmers. A light boned pig, providing a high ratio of meat to bone in a carcass. As a breed it does not take on fat too easily, producing a lean meat with no markings. The breed is dual purpose, producing not only good pork, but also high quality bacons and ham. The Oxford Sandy and Black Pig, sometimes referred to as the ‘Plum Pudding or Oxford Forest Pig’ is one of the oldest British pig breed, having existed for 200-300 years. Traditionally kept by farmers and cottages, especially around Oxfordshire, it is closely linked to the Berkshire and Tamworth which are found in nearby regions. Thoughts vary on whether it is a cross breed, a new breed, or merely a genetic divergence from the other breeds. Whatever the case may be, it is known for its docile temperament and hardy temperament. The Oxford Sandy and Black, or OSB, has reached crisis point at least twice in its past when numbers dropped so low that extinction was a real possibility. The situation was so bad that many years there were only one new sow being registered a year. The situation was exacerbated by the lack of a breed book. This was rectified by the formation of the current breed society in 1985. Since the formation of the Rare Breed Survival Trust and its adoption by the British Pig Association, there is hope of the breed becoming safe. The breed is still low in numbers and many bloodlines have been lost, although some of the rarest bloodlines are still hanging on. There are currently 654 registered sows as of 2011.

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