Berkshire Hog History
The Berkshire Breed of pigs dates back over 300 years to the swine herd of the House of Windsor, where they were prized for their exceptional flavor. From British royalty to Asian emperors Berkshire pork was preferred for it’s exception taste and tenderness. Now they are recognized all over the world for their perfect combination of juiciness, flavor and tenderness.
The original Berkshire hog was a reddish or sandy colored hog, sometimes spotted. This would account for the sandy hair still sometimes seen in the white areas of some modern Berkshires. Later this basic stock was refined with a cross of Siamese and Chinese blood, bringing the color pattern we see today along with the quality of more efficient gains. This was the only outside blood that has gone into the Berkshire breed within the time of recorded livestock history. For 200 years now the Berkshire bloodstream has been pure, as far as the records are known today.
The Berkshire Breed paved the way for better swine production and improvement in the United States and Europe, as well. Berkshires have had great influence upon the swine industry the past 100 years, and the Breed Association has made people aware of the importance of purebred animals. Types have changed in the swine industry due to economic needs, and Berkshires have played some of the most distinguishable roles in the Swine Industry. In the 1940’s and early 1950’s, Berkshires set a pace in market hog shows never to be surpassed – during this era, Berkshires won more consecutive Chicago International Truckload Championships than any other breed. Their winnings have never been duplicated.
During the past several years the Berkshire has made great strides of improvement towards meeting the demands of the swine industry. Selection pressure has been applied toward those traits of great economical importance – fast and efficient growth, reproductive efficiency cleanness, and meatiness.