The Choctaw is an American breed of pig descended from Spanish pigs first brought to the country in the 1500s. The breed was later named after the Native American Choctaw tribe, with whom it has been long associated.
Choctaw pigs are small in size, with adult males weighing 110-135kg and females 68-90kg. They have a black coat with occasional white markings.
Many of the breed have fleshy wattles on each side of the neck. They have a distinctive hoof, as its toes are fused forming a single, muleâlike hoof. These traits are consistent with the breed’s Spanish origin.
Over the course of time, the hardy Choctaw has been shaped by natural selection. They have long legs and strong forequarters, making them both fast and agile. This conformation has its advantages in the wild for survival, but it does not produce a suitable carcass for the commercial market.
The Choctaw breed is now very rare, with only a few hundred estimated to be left in the population. Most of these are located in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a Native American territory in the south-east of the state.
The Livestock Conservancy has categorised the Choctaw as ‘critically rare’. However, the American breed is a high conservation priority because it has qualities which may be of importance in the future.
Today, Choctaws in Oklahoma are traditionally managed and allowed to roam free on the open range. They require minimum husbandry and are very much self-sufficent, foraging roots, plants, acorns, and berries.
Every so often they are rounded up to tag young pigs and sort heavier pigs for sale. Those for market are kept and fed on ration to increase their weight.
- Adult weight: Male: 110-135kg and female: 68-90kg;
- Colour: Black, with occasional white markings;
- Use: Lean meat;
- Temperament: Aggressive;
- Country of origin: USA;
- Conservation status: Critically rare.
Photo credit: The Livestock Conservancy