Historically an all black lop eared pig was not known in this country until some time after the arrival of Siamese and Neopolitan breeds.
There are many tales and stories that surround the possible way in which these pigs arrived in this country and one such story does seem to have some credibility when you return to the fact that the black pigs were mainly found in the south and south east of the country. It is said that when Chinese trading boats were making the long and tortuous journey to our shores they would always ensure that they had plenty of livestock on board to feed the crew, preventing scurvy, They could never be certain how long the journey would take or how long they would be at sea.
On this particular occasion it is said that two Chinese trading vessels made very good time with both landing early one in Plymouth and the other in London. A large number of surplus black pigs were supposedly unloaded at both places. The farmers in both East Anglia and Cornwall took a liking to them with the result that in the fullness of time the Large Black of today emerged.
It is certainly true that the big black pig bred in the south west became very popular abroad and is still known as the ‘Cornish Black’ in many parts of the world. It is also true that black and black pigs with a white saddle were found all around London within reach of the Thames basin. There is however no way in which one can prove the authenticity of the story as nice as it is.
With its fantastic lop ears it is often known as the ‘elephant pig’ because of the similarity the newly born piglets have to a very small black elephant. Viewed from behind, after just being born, their huge ears and little straight tail certainly make one think of a baby elephant.
In the early 19th century they were described as being one of the largest of all our pigs with very big heads and ears that were so long that they could hardly see which way they were going. This is still very much the situation even today.
This is, without any doubt, one of the more graceful, elegant members of the pig family.
Despite its size it is both docile and an excellent mother capable of rearing large litters and producing excellent bacon for the table. Really much more of a bacon pig than the smaller rounder and much chunkier pork pigs.