Wessex Saddleback Pig

Originating from the New Forest in southern England, this breed was a foraging breed for over ten centuries, thriving on natural woodland pasture. Its lack of adaptability to intensive farming systems resulted in its demise from widespread farming and its subsequent extinction in its native England. However, some pedigreed animals were imported to Australia in the 1930s, where an Australian pedigree register was established. Today, there are at least nine registered pedigree herds of the Wessex Saddleback pig in Australia, estimated to contain 150 registered breeding sows.

This breed of pig is identifiable by its black coat and the white stripe around its shoulders. In Australia, where the pigs are raised outdoors in free-range systems, the superior flavour of the meat reflects its pastured diet. Wessex Saddleback meat, and particularly its bacon, is widely acclaimed by chefs and consumers. Now, the breed is increasingly appearing on restaurant menus from chefs who understand its superior flavour. It is also available to home cooks at some farmers’ markets in southern Australia. Supply however is very limited.

The continuing increase in caged pig farming within Australia and ongoing importation of caged pigmeat has placed this breed in danger of extinction in Australia. The Wessex Saddleback is supported as an endangered species by the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia.

Posted in .