The Yorkshire pig breed, as the name would suggest, is one first developed in the UK and Yorkshire, England, more specifically.
The breed was first developed in 1761 and they were originally developed by crossing small, fat Chinese breeds with indigenous large, white UK pigs of the time (UK Yorkshire pigs). This breed was first recognised in 1868 and was first exported to the US in the 1830’s.
The American variation of the breed was developed in the US, through the importation of larger Yorkshire types into the US from England and Canada, which aided in the improvement of the American Yorkshire. Fussy selection enabled further improvements in the breed.
The breed is now the most popular in the US amongst farmers and can be found in almost every state. Funnily, the American Yorkshire breed did not gain much popularity until over 100 years after it first graced US shores, which was due in part to the slow growth rate of the breed.
The breed was originally developed for the bacon markets, though it was also once very popular in lean-meat markets. Modern forms of the breed are known to be very muscular and have a high proportion of lean meat.
Uses and Characteristics -
Like its English ancestor, the American Yorkshire pig is a large, white coloured animal (see pictures).
They are more than capable of thriving in most climates and are very strong breeds. In fact, Yorkshire pigs can survive extreme changes in weather conditions with ease. Yorkshire pigs have erect ears and light hairs on their body.
Sows make excellent mothers and usually have up to 13 piglets per litter. Although first developed as an outdoor breed, Yorkshire pigs also perform admirable in confined conditions. They are probably best suited to extensive farming systems, however.
Primarily reared for bacon production, due to their large size and weights reached. Although Yorkshire pigs possess a slower growth rate than most breeds, sows tend to weigh from 204 to 295 kgs at full maturity. Boars are larger and heavier again, weighing from 250-340kgs.
A breed developed from one of the UK’s top pork breeds, the American Yorkshire has now embedded itself into US culture, since capturing hearts upon its arrival almost 200 years ago.