There are no less than 350 different pig breeds in the world. However, there are not so many crossbreeds. In fact, in view of the current demand, certain breeds are favoured. The technological qualities of pork depend, among other things, on the choice of breeds and the crossbreeding of breeding animals, which is carried out with the greatest care by animal genetics specialists. At present, the Large White sow and the French Landrace boar form the couple that gives the best products and meat of excellent quality.
There are three main characteristics for differentiating and classifying breeds:
the position of the ears (straight, tilted or floppy) ;
skin colour (pink, black or spotted);
Today, the pig species is highly homogenised, with only three major breeds dominating the market.
The Large White
Of English origin, the Large White is a white pig with straight ears. It owes its reputation to its adaptability, its good breeding performance and the quality of its meat. The Large White is the most frequent partner of the French Landrace and the Pietrain.
The French Landrace
A white pig with floppy ears, the French Landrace has a long, streamlined body. Gentle and good milkers, the sows are renowned for their maternal qualities.
A white pig with black spots and straight ears, bred in Belgium and Northern France, the “Piétrain” is exceptionally muscular and has an excellent carcass yield. It is relatively slow growing due to its limited appetite.
Crossbreeds of pigs
There are very few pure breeds: most animals are the result of crosses between these three breeds. Depending on their breed, pigs are not bred for the same reasons. For example, Large White and French Landrace pigs are fast-growing and prolific, while Pietrain pigs produce more meat. Nevertheless, thanks to some breeders, old local breeds still exist, such as the Gascon Pig, the Limousin Black Ass, the Basque Pig, the Western White, the Bayeux and, of course, the famous Corsican Pig.