The Duroc pig can look intimidating on the surface, but never judge a book by its cover. However, this is definitely not a house pig to have around the house.
Even though these pigs are considered a popular commercial breed by meat producers, they still make great show pigs. And, since this pig is one of the gentlest pigs out there, it is an excellent choice if you want to breed stout, muscular pigs. Historically, this pig has been a top choice for breeders and hog farmers. And it is a prime choice for hog farmers because of its ability to gain weight on less feed.
The breed originates in the United States since the 1800s, first dating back to 1830, when the Duroc was bred with the Duroc Strain, a New York pig, and the Jersey Red. White Durocs were crossbred with its red brethren, along with the Landrace and Large white breeds. The true origins of this pig is up for debate. Some theories hold that they came from Spain or Portugal, and some even espouse the theory that they hogs came on Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Americas. In the 1930s, they were the number one for hog farmers, and have remained so throughout the 1900s.
The breed was named after a prized horse, the only breed of pig named after another species. They were appreciated as show hogs until the 1950s, until commercial farming picked them up as a good breeding and meat source, due to their strong muscle growth and tantalizing meat.
These pigs are especially well known for producing succulent spare ribs. However, they are still known for making the rounds at hog shows across the country.
Like the Large Black Hog of Britain, it has droopy ears that tend to cover the face. The pig comes in a predominantly reddish color, but can also come in golden brown, yellow, and sometimes mahogany. They can grow up to three feet and can weigh over 300 pounds.
Even though they are a great choice for breeders who prefer large hogs, they may spell some trouble for those who are looking to display these animals as show pigs, since they can be stubborn when it comes to training. Also, the mothers generally make poor nurturers for their piglets. If you're looking for a pet pig, you may want to stick with a miniature pig, teacup, or Vietnamese hog, since they Durocs grow on the larger end of the scale. If you're a breeder and have the space, they are easy to manage, cheap to feed, and will sire plenty of robust piglets.
Photos from Ensign Therapy