|Country of origin United Kingdom|
Higher classification domestic pig
|Scientific name Sus scrofa domesticus|
|Conservation status FAO (2007): endangered-maintained|
Use dual-purpose, pork and bacon
Weight Male: 320 kgFemale: 270 kg
Similar Wessex Saddleback, Gloucestershire Old Spots, Oxford Sandy and Black, Tamworth Pig, Middle White
The British Saddleback is a modern British breed of domestic pig. It was created in 1967 by merging the surviving populations of two traditional saddleback breeds, the Essex and Wessex Saddleback.:224
The British Saddleback was created in 1967 by merging the remaining populations of two quite different traditional saddleback breeds, the Essex and the Wessex Saddleback, into a single herd-book. Both breeds had declined following the publication of the Howitt report in 1955, which found breed diversity to be a handicap to the pig industry in Britain, and established a policy of concentrating production on three breeds only: the Welsh, the British Landrace and the Large White.
During the Second World War some 47% of the total pedigree sow registrations were from the Essex and Wessex breeds. In 1949 there were 2435 licensed Essex and Wessex boars, almost 25% of the total number. By 1954, sow registrations for the two breeds had fallen to 22% of the total, and fewer than 10% of registered boars were from the Essex and Wessex breeds. The recommendation of the time was to cross-breed saddleback sows with a white boar to produce a dual-purpose pig, for both pork and bacon production.
The British Saddleback was listed as "endangered-maintained" by the FAO in 2007.:121 The Rare Breeds Survival Trust lists it as a "minority breed" rather than a rare breed. In 2012 the population was reported to be 882.
The British Saddleback is large and deep in the body. It is black with a white saddle or sheet – a band round the withers, shoulders and front legs; some white is allowed on the nose, tail and hind feet. It is lop-eared.
The British Saddleback is hardy, forages well, and has good maternal qualities. It is a dual-purpose breed, used for the production of both pork and bacon. It has secured a niche in outdoor and organic production.
Saddlebacks have been exported to Nigeria and the Seychelles where the pigs have performed on coarse grazing in hot climatic conditions.