What Are the Characteristics of Hampshire Pigs?

Hampshire pigs have black bodies with white bands around their middles that cover the front legs, erect ears, long necks and wide foreheads. This breed is heavily muscled with a long, lean and semi-level toplines. Their rumps are long and level with high-set tails.

Hampshire sows have the reputation of being good mothers with long breeding careers. This breed is good tempered and grows faster than the Yorkshire, but not as fast as some cross breeds. Hampshire sires add robustness and durability in their offspring when crossbred with other pig breeds. Its foraging abilities make it an appropriate pig for beginners to raise. The American National Swine Registry lists the Hampshire as the fourth most recorded breed.

The Hampshire Swine Registry requires that all Hampshire pigs have DNA color testing before breeders register any litters with the organization, as of July 1, 2014. The registry previously required that only artificial insemination service sires have this testing.

Modern Hampshire pigs descended from Old English hogs that originated in Scotland and Northern England. These hardy pigs produced outstanding carcasses when butchered, although they were larger than the desired 125 pound liveweight at butchering time. The Hampshire pig first appeared in America between 1825 and 1835 in Kentucky, and became popular in the Corn Belt region in the 1920s.