pig shown above is a Mangalitza or Woolly Pig found in Austria,
Germany, Hungary, Romania and Switzerland.
The whole Mangalitza breed was almost lost with the total population
world-wide down to less than 150 sows in 1993. Thanks to the work of
a small group of dedicated breeders, the Mangalitza has been brought
back from the verge of extinction. It is now farmed on large units
in Hungary and has been exported to North America as well as the UK.
Imported into the UK in 2006, there are 7 female lines and 3 boar
lines established. There are three distinct types within the breed :
the Blonde, the Red and the unique Swallow Bellied (above) with its
white underline. All three types are very hardy. The Swallow bellied
Mangalitza was developed in the 1800ís from crossing the Blonde with
the Black Mangalitza. Unfortunately the Black pig became extinct in
the 1970ís with the last known herd on the Serb islands in the
They are a fairly
primitive breed, lively and friendly, with strong maternal
instincts. Litter sizes are currently not large, averaging about 6.
Once renowned as a Lard Pig capable of producing 70 litres of
rendered fat, the Mangalitza has carved out new niche markets in
forestry projects and the production of special hams and salamis.
The breed was featured at the Salone Del Gusto in Turin in 2004. The
meat is well marbled so that it is tastier and less dry than that
from more modern breeds. The fat is also special as it has a higher
level of monounsaturated fats, meaning it goes rancid less easily
which is good for long curing. It also has a healthier balance of
Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids than seed oils which have become so
popular in modern cookery.
Mangalitza is an unusual, very attractive breed, and has a serious
contribution to make as a specialist food product.