History of the Breed
The Tamworth is a breed of domestic pig originating in Kettlebaston, United Kingdom, with input from Irish pigs. It is among the oldest of pig breeds but as with many older breeds of livestock it is not well suited to modern commercial methods and is listed as “Threatened” in the United States and “Vulnerable” in the UK by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Tamworth hogs are generally ginger to red color and are thought to have descended from wild boars, via native pig stock of Europe. Principal populations today are in the United Kingdom, Australia, USA, New Zealand and Canada. Alternate names for this animal are Sandy Back and Tam. This breed exhibits an elongated head shape and a long narrow body. The ears are erect and pointed, while the face has rectilinear lines as well as the snout. Colors range from a pale gingery to dark mahogany red. Early in the breed history, colors were red and black, but breeding has been conducted to remove the black coloration. The bristle density protects their skin from ultraviolet harm from the sun; nevertheless, when they shed between June and August (in the northern hemisphere), shade is sought along with wallowing in mud to prevent sunburn. The mud coating also provides a way for the pigs to cool down, as pigs cannot sweat. Tamworths are considered a medium sized hog, with a full grown boar ranging from 550 to 820 lb and the mature sow from 440 to 660 lb. The adult length ranges from 39 to 55 in and heights of about 20 to 26 in are common. The curled adult tail is about 9.4 to 12 in. This animal is characterized by having a neck and legs that are long, and by deep sides, but with narrow backs.
At Riley’s Ranch, we used the heritage Tamworth hog to cross with our Large Blacks to achieve hybrid vigor and to create pigs with longer backs for bacon. The marbled rich meat of the Large Black combined with the leaner longer Tamworth makes an excellent and delicious combination.