The Bentheim Black Pied pig is a domestic breed native to Germany and the country’s rarest pig breed.
The breed is often also known as the Buntes Bentheimer Schwein or the Schwarz-Wesses. It is thought that the Bentheim Black Pied breed resulted from the crossing of Cornwall and Berkshire Breeds in the 20th century. Read more about the Berkshire pig breed here.
The Bentheim Black Pied was primarily raised in the Northwest of Germany and despite the breed's popularity at the time, it almost became extinct by the 1950’s and was subsequently listed as a “rare breed”. This decline in populations was due in part to Germans switching their consumer preferences towards a leaner type of pork.
This resulted in a severe decline in populations and the subsequent closure of the herd book in 1964. The herd book was only reopened in 1988 thanks to the dedication of one breeder. The herd book was based on the records of this one breeder. It is estimated that there are only approximately 420 registered breeding animals remaining worldwide today.
The "Association for the Conservation of the Bentheim Black Pied Pig" began conservation efforts in 2003, which helped increase population numbers to 420 pedigree registered animals. There are now an estimated 90 Bentheim Black Pied breeders worldwide, with the breed now also raised in Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Uses and Characteristics -
A medium-sized breed, the Bentheim Black Pied pig is best known for its white colouration and black spots.
They have lop-ears. The German breed is a very hardy one, with great longevity also. Sows are also extremely fertile and average 9.2 piglets per litter.
Generally, the Bentheim Black Pied are raised for their pork, which was admitted to the Slow Food Foundation’s international “Ark of Taste” in 2005. At full maturity, Boars will weigh up to 250kgs and reach heights of up to 75cms. Sows meanwhile will top the scales at approximately 180kgs, reaching heights of up to 70cms.
Interest in the Bentheim Black Pied has witnessed a resurgence in recent years and thanks to the efforts of one solitary breeder, the breed survives to this day.