Still seeking a foothold among UK pig enthusiasts
In some respects the Hampshire can be regarded as a ‘British Native’ Breed, as the original breeding stock was imported from Wessex, UK in 1832, the date being recorded in the “Hampshire Blue Book” published in 1928. The book records the complete history of the breed and its origin.
The Hampshire is used extensively as the sire of cross bred pigs for the pork and manufacturing markets in the USA and many other countries. It has the reputation of being the leanest of the North American Breeds and the majority of carcase competitions in North America are won by Hampshires and Hampshire crosses.
The first Hampshires in the UK were imported from the USA in 1968. The import was a ‘random sample’ of the breed. The pigs were extensively performance tested prior to being released to British breeders.
British Hampshires very soon became popular worldwide and in a twelve month period August 1978 to August 1979 more than 600 head were exported to 14 different countries.
The British Hampshire, both pure bred and crosses, have won many interbreed championships at the Royal Smithfield Show, London for carcases and live pigs.
During the 1980s and 1990s several new blood lines have been imported from the USA by embryo transfer and boar semen.