The most common pig breeds for 4H, market and slaughter are: American Landrace, American Yorkshire, Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Poland China and Spots. All things considered, there is not a “super breed” of pig. Your best bet is to pick a healthy, alert, active growing pig to start with. Growing pigs are considered to be 40-125 pounds. Finishing pigs are 125 to over 230 pounds.
Most Common Pig Breeds
American Landrace: are typically good mothers, have
highest weaning average of any other breed, highest post-weaning survival rate of any other breed, are white in color, have a long body, less pronounced arch in the back, 16 pairs of ribs and large ears.
American Yorkshire: are typically good mothers, have large litters, are white in color (susceptible to sunburn), have a big frame, and erect ears.
Berkshire: typically make good sires (boars), work well in enclosed buildings, are black in color with white points on all four legs, tail and snout, dished snout and erect short ears.
Chester White: are typically good mothers, have large litters, are white in color, the boars can be aggressive and have droopy ears.
Duroc: typically need less feed per pound of muscle than any other breed, fast growth, feed efficient, can vary in color from light gold or yellow to dark red or brown and also have droopy ears.
Hampshire: have lean and meaty carcasses, black in color with a white belt from one front leg, over the shoulder and down the other front leg.
Poland China: have meaty carcasses, typically black
in color with white points on all four legs, tail and snout, varieties can also be spotted, pigs have maximum weight at any age, good feeders or growers and quiet disposition animals.
Spots: produce pigs with high growth rates, feed efficient, gentle, durable, white in color with black spots.