Which pig breed for temperament?
AQ Which pig breed would you recommend for good temperament? Which might be best avoided? Liz Shankland says: This is such a good question! I’m forever being asked whether it’s true that lop- eared pigs are more docile than prick- eared pigs, and the answer is a resounding ‘NO’! I’ve kept all kinds of pigs in my time – around eight different traditional breeds and a few batches of modern cross-breeds – and I can honestly say that, when you buy in young pigs, the most important thing with regard to temperament is how much and how well you handle them. It’s exactly the same as buying a dog – it’s nurture rather than nature that makes the difference.
There are lots of urban myths about pig breeds. My first pigs were Tamworths. These have, unfairly, been given a bad reputation because of the ‘ Tamworth Two’ story, which attracted worldwide media interest when two pigs looking like Tamworths escaped from an abattoir and went on the run. Those pigs were, in fact, the result of crossing a Tamworth with a wild boar, and the breed has been branded as difficult to manage ever since. Absolute rubbish. Why would I have stuck with a breed for the past 15 years if the pigs were difficult to manage? I have repeat customers who have been buying from me for close on a decade.
Every breeder will say that their breed is the best, but I am a firm believer that your influence is what governs the personality your pigs will have. If you only see them once a day, throw the feed over the fence, and then leave them to it, they aren’t going to turn into well-socialised pigs which are a pleasure to manage. Spend some time with them each day, get to know them, and you’ll see the difference.
Try a different breed every time. They are all different, and that’s what makes them so fascinating. Best of luck.
A lop-eared or prick-eared breed? Here an Oxford Sandy & Back is face to face with a Middle White.