The Oxford Sandy & Black Pig sometimes referred to as the ďPlum Pudding or Oxford Forest PigĒ is one of the oldest British pig breeds, it has existed for 200-300 years. A traditional farmers and cottagers pig, of the middle part of the country, especially around
Oxfordshire. It seems to be closely linked to the old Berkshire and Tamworth. Did it diverge from them? Or was it the result of crossbreeding between them? Or crossbreeding with an entirely different breed no-one is entirely sure.
The Oxford Sandy & Black or OSB has reached crisis point at least
twice in itís past when numbers dropped so low that extinction was a
real possibility. Unfortunately it had no Society or herd book to
look after itís wellbeing. As long ago as the 1940ís boar licensing
had dropped to one or two a year for OSBís but for a few dedicated
breeders the breed would surely have been lost. In 1973 the Rare
Breeds Survival Trust was formed giving hope for the breed, but the
Trust decided not to recognise the OSB. Once again the dedicated
breeders were on their own. The decline continued to the brink of
extinction when in 1985 the current Breed Society was formed
following contact with all known breeders of the OSB by the
Society's founder secretary Steven Kimmins ably supported and helped by Andrew J.Sheppy Chairman and Geoffrey Cloke President. The breed
owes a great debt and itís survival to them.
There were 29 herds listed in the first herd book with 15 Boars and 62 Sows. Sadly some of the bloodlines have been lost, but todayís dedicated and enthusiastic breeders are determined to save the remaining lines.
The current picture is very encouraging with the rarest bloodlines hanging on and slowly increasing. Hopefully the Breed is at last safe (although still relatively few in number) Recognition by, and transfer of herd book management to the BPA from the Oxford Sandy and Black Society has already brought the hoped for benefits of increased publicity and opportunity to compete in the shop window of BPA recognised shows.
Boars: Alexander, Alistair, Clarence, Jack
Sows: Alison, Clare, Clarissa, Cynthia, Dandy, Duchess, Elsie, Gertrude, Gloria,
Iris, Lady, Mary & Sybil
The breed has many good qualities, particularly itís excellent temperament and mothering abilities. Prolific and hardy it is particularly suited to outdoor systems, being good foragers and as they are a coloured pig with a good coat they are far less prone to sunburn.
The ground colour should be a light sandy to rust with random black blotches (not spots) with a white blaze, feet and tassel.
A medium to large pig with good length and a deep body, good quarters and fine shoulders, strong legs and feet and well set on, giving a free and active gait.
A moderately strong head, straight or slightly dished with lop or semi lop ears.
Producerís of fine quality white skinned pork and bacon with superb flavour Ė will finish to pork weight in 22 weeks