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Gloucestershire Old Spots Characteristics, Behavior, Classification, and More

The Gloucestershire Old Spot or Gloucestershire spotted pig is a very old breed of pig of English origin, which has a characteristic appearance, mostly the breed is white with dark spots. Named after the county of Gloucestershire in England, these Gloucestershire pigs are known for their docility, intelligence and good luck.

Gloucestershire Old Spots history and origin

The Gloucester Pig is an English breed of a domestic pig named after the county of Gloucestershire. It is also known by other Anglo-Saxon names such as Gloucestershire Old Spot, Gloucester Old Spot, Gloucester, GOS, Orchard Pig, The Cottager’s Pig, or simply Old Spots.

It is one of the oldest pig breeds in existence and is currently a rare breed. The breed was developed in the Berkley Valley of Gloucestershire, England during the 19th century, the exact origins of the breed are currently unknown.

But it is believed that the breed was probably based on two breeds of pigs: the unimproved Berkshire pigs and the original Gloucestershire pig, which was large in size, had a beard and was whitish in color, and had no spots. The two breeds of pigs that were used to develop the Gloucestershire Old Spots pig probably no longer exist.

Characteristics

Gloucesters pigs are a large breed of large pigs, their appearance is white with at least one distinctive black spot. This breed reaches an adult weight of up to 600 pounds (272 kilograms) and the sow reaches almost 500 pounds (about 227 kilograms), which suggests that it is a great breed.

This breed is white with well-defined black spots, it has droopy ears that almost cover the face of an adult pig and can reach up to the tip of the nose. In terms of breeding standards, they must have at least one spot on their body that has different colors to be accepted in the breed registry.

The head is long in proportion to its nose, and the ears are spread, sloping down the nose. With regard to the body, it has large but not protruding straight shoulders. A high degree of back with expanded ribs and wide ribs is desirable when selecting the breed. The back of the body, with a large, round, full belly and ribs from rib to hip is standard. Its jaw tends to be large, the legs are straight and rigid, in addition both the skin and the hair do not show roughness or wrinkles, the coat tends to be smooth and straight.

The lower abdomen must have at least 14 nipples aligned in two rows. The soft pink fur is not seen in this species. A woolen brow coat may be frowned upon for the breed. The skin will not be accepted if there are visible wrinkles. The curved legs are disqualified for this class of pig, in addition these mammals have large jaws and can be objected as a non-standard breed.

Their meat was recognized for its quality in 2010, the Gloucestershire pig association was awarded the European Commission Award for Special Guarantee. This pig breeding club will actively pursue smugglers of the wrong meat label and attempt to cross with products like GOS that are not from GOS purebred pigs, or with domestic livestock. ) Small breeders exist for those who are interested in buying GOS pigs or true Gloucester pigs.

Classification

The breed was developed in the Berkley Valley of Gloucestershire, England, during the 19th century. Its exact origins are unknown, although it is likely based on two breeds: the original Gloucestershire pig, which was large, whitish in color, had beards and was not spotted, and second, from the unimproved Berkshire pig. The two ancient races used to develop the old spots of these animals are now extinct.

Gloucestershire pigs were selected as excellent foragers and herders. Pigs are able to live on pastures and agricultural products, they can eat the whey from cheese making, apples from the orchard and the residues from pressing cider.

These easy-keeping qualities gave Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs the nicknames “country hog” and “garden hog”. British folklore claims that the large black spots are bruises caused by apples falling on them while foraging orchard floors in search of food.

Behaviour

The Gloucestershire Old Spots pig is a very active and hardy breed of pig. She is well known for her intelligence, docility, and prolificity. Sows are excellent mothers and can take very good care of their piglets. Their excellent maternal skills allow them to raise large litters of piglets on pasture.

The breed’s disposition and self-sufficiency make it ideal and attractive for ranchers willing to raise pasture hogs, and also for people who want to add hogs to diversified operations.

Reproduction

Females tend to be very good mothers, so much so that it can be said that they would sacrifice themselves for their children, while males rarely threaten or intimidate piglets even if they are not theirs.

Sows are intelligent mothers who can raise large pigs on the pasture. Its independent character and good self-feeding should make it attractive to pig farmers.

Protection

This Gloucester Old Spots pig was a very popular breed. With the introduction of intensive husbandry techniques that include animal husbandry and cultivation, several high-yielding, lean, pale pig breeds have been selected for rearing to suit the conditions of industrial pig production and need to mass-produce pork on time to meet market demand. Many old pigs have died, or significantly fallen, during this time.

The old breeds of pigs have become more suitable for outdoor life (backyard farming, extensive ranching), the Old Spots is increasingly favored by farmers, and there is also quality in its delicious meat.

This breed of pig was classified as an endangered species, it is also known that in the United Kingdom, the old speckled pig breeds are listed in the “Group 5, Small Cattle Group” regulated by the Rare Breed Survival Trust because there are less than 1,000 breeding sows on the bill. Another certificate has been submitted to obtain the European Commission’s Guaranteed Specialized Traditional Specialty (TSG) status for old spotted pigs, which are specialized in meat.

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