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British Lop Pig: Characteristics, Breeding, History, Protection, and More

The British Lop pig is one of the rarest pig breeds out there. It is a large, docile, lop-eared, multipurpose pig. The pure breed is suitable for both pork and bacon production. Crossed with other breeds, the resulting offspring make excellent commercial pigs that compare favorably to hybrids.

The British Lop is also a very successful stallion, it is another rare breed of pig that produces very meaty pigs for the pork markets. These pigs are a hardy breed and their meat is highly sought after. The breed is well adapted to an extensive system. It is a large breed, the sows weigh around 300 kg, and the boars around 350 kg. They are white in color with large drooping ears and are similar in appearance to the Landrace or Welsh but much deeper in the body.

British Lop Pig history and origin

The British Lop is a breed of hog that originated around the Tavistock area on both sides of the Cornish and Devon borders. For most of its history, from the early years of the 20th century, it remained a local breed, undiscovered by farmers outside of its native territory. It was well suited to the locality and there was a strong demand there, so there was little incentive for breeders to shout their merits beyond the far Southwest.

The breed was listed as “rare” on an official list, where interest in all these breeds has generally increased and, in fact, the Lop pig is more widespread now than at any other time in the last 30 years. However, it suffered, compared to the other rare breeds of pigs, from not having a particularly distinctive appearance. It is, after all, as its previous name implies, a white lop-eared pig and, for non-specialists, could be mistaken for the Welsh pig or the Landrace.

Characteristics

The British Lop Pig is a large breed, white in color, they have a heavy, long, and deep body. Their muzzle is of medium length and they have a conical muzzle that should never be turned up. Their skin is pure white and their hair is smooth and silky. The pure forms of the breed do not have wrinkles or skin markings.

A docile breed, the British Lop is not only easy to handle but also has good fattening capabilities. Como’s pork is also of very high quality and the meat has its own niche market all over the world. Sows also make excellent dams and the breed is suitable for both small and large scale operations.

A breed that is rarer than the large giant hog and was nearly wiped out of existence less than 50 years ago, the British Lop is deep-bodied. Although not used much in commercial pig farming, the Lop pig is a slimmer breed than most rare breeds of pigs and less prone to gaining weight. A daily live weight gain of 0.45 kg and a mortality rate of around 80% can be achieved.

An extensively reared pig (it can be 70 to 75 kg) should be ready for slaughter within 160 to 170 days. British Lops can be raised under more intensive systems and an intensively raised pig should reach optimum weight within 110 to 130 days. The breed is an efficient low-quality feed converter.

Classification

The earliest records of the breed come from the Cornish and Devon border, particularly from the Tavistock area, and possibly relate to similar breeds found on the northwestern borders of Europe, namely the Welsh, with which it was for a period in the 1920s in a combined breed registry, and the Landrace pig breeds of Scandinavia. It may also be related to the Norman pigs of France.

Like all the other members of the hog list, the British Lop is in the pig family.

The first herd book for the breed was published in 1921, following the popularity of the classes at the Devon County Show that year. Large numbers of purebred Lops were recorded in the late 1930s, primarily in the Southwest. During the years after World War II, the British Government recommended that production be normalized to three breeds (Large White, Welsh, and Landrace), which resulted in a decrease in the number of other breeds of pigs. During the 1960s and 1970s, only about 11 breeders kept the British Lop.

Behavior

The British Lop pig is extremely hardy and an excellent herding breed. In the UK they can be kept outdoors all year round. The breed has a good ability to gain weight and is characterized by a mild temperament.

British Lop sows are excellent dams, being very docile and easy to handle. The Lop has an enviable track record of piglets born and raised. The natural leanness and length of the breed produce a pig suitable for any market.

Distribution

The British Lop is an ancient breed of swine native to the United Kingdom. It is a large, white pig, named for its large ears that hang over its face. The breed was originally developed as an amalgamation of several local lop-eared breeds in England and came to be known as the British Lop Pig in the 1960s.

Reproduction

The breed has a reputation for prolificity and 12-14-year-old litters are normal. Sows have excellent maternal instincts. British Lops Pigs are generally placid and easy to handle despite their size.

Protection

The breed is more numerous today than it was in the 1960s and ’70s but is still listed as Endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

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