Porcine Husbandry

Porcine Husbandry

Terminology and Physiologic Data

Box 22-1 lists common terminology used to describe the age and breeding status of swine. Table 22-1 list normal physiologic data for swine.

Anatomical Terms

Figures 22-1 and 22-2 will help you review the terms for body parts and areas of swine as well as the names of bones and joints.

Swine Breeds

Common Swine Breeds

Almost all hog producers in the United States use what is termed as “synthetic lines” (lines derived from crossbreeding to increase heterosis, which results in offspring that are superior to their parents). However, seed stock breeders are a key component of maintaining the breeds used in these synthetic lines.

Breeds can be classified as maternal or terminal lines. Maternal lines are lines that are used in a crossbreeding program to supply genetics that produce more pigs per litter, have higher milk production, and typically have a docile temperament. Terminal lines are typically used in crossbreeding programs to supply genetics that allow for fast growth, produce well-muscled meaty carcasses, and typically are durable and leaner.


The Duroc breed originated from red hogs raised in New Jersey and New York. The breed was originally called the Duroc-Jersey, but the Jersey was later dropped. The color of the Duroc is red. Shades vary from light to dark, with a medium cherry being the preferred shade. The Duroc has ears that droop forward. The breed has good mothering ability, growth rate, and feed conversion. It is one of the most popular breeds of swine in the United States. Swine of this breed can be registered with the United Duroc Swine Registry. Disqualifications for registry include swirls on the back and sides or white hair on the body. This breed is considered a terminal breed (Fig. 22-6).


The Hampshire breed originated in England and was developed in Kentucky. It was previously known as the Thin Rind. The Hampshire is black, with a white belt that encircles the forepart of the body. The forelegs are included in the white belt. The Hampshire has erect ears. The breed is noted for its rustling (foraging) ability, muscle, and carcass leanness. It is a popular breed and is used in many crossbreeding programs. The breed association is the Hampshire Swine Registry. Disqualifications for registry include cryptorchidism, swirls on back or sides, incomplete belt, or white belt more than two thirds back on the body. White is permitted on the hind limbs as long as it does not go above the bottom of the ham or touch the belt. Other disqualifications include white on the head (except on the front of the snout), black front legs, white going above the bottom of the ham, or white on the belly extending the full length of the body. The Hampshire is considered a terminal breed (Fig. 22-7).

Poland China

The Poland China originated in the Ohio counties of Butler and Warren. The breed was developed with the use of lines from Russian, Byfield, Big China, Berkshire, and Irish Grazer bloodlines. The Poland China is black with six white points. The white points include the feet, tip of the nose, and the tip of the tail. The Poland China has forward-drooping ears. Poland China is one of the larger breeds of hogs. It is used in many crossbreeding programs. The breed association is the Poland China Record Association. Disqualifications for registry include fewer than six teats on a side, swirls on the upper half of the body, hernia, or cryptorchidism. The absence of any of the white points is not objectionable nor is an occasional splash of white on the body. The Poland China breed is considered a terminal breed (Fig. 22-9).

Spotted Swine

The Spotted swine was developed in Indiana. Many producers refer to this breed as “Spots.” It was created by crossing hogs of Poland China breeding with spotted hogs being grown in the area and later with the use of Gloucester Old Spots. The color of the Spotted breed is black and white. To be eligible for registry, at least 20% but not over 80% of the body must be either black or white. The body type of the Spotted breed is similar to that of the Poland China. It has forward-drooping ears. Breeders strive to produce a large-framed hog with efficient gains and good muscling. The breed association is the National Spotted Swine Record. Disqualifications for registry include brown or sandy spots, swirls on any part of the body, and cryptorchids. The breed is considered a terminal breed (Fig. 22-10).


The Yorkshire hog originated in England, in the county of Yorkshire. The Yorkshire is white. The skin sometimes has black pigmented spots called “freckles.” The breed association is the American Yorkshire Club. Hogs with black spots can be registered, but this trait is considered undesirable. The ears are erect, and the face is slightly dished. Yorkshires have large litters, high feed efficiency, rapid growth, good mothering ability, and long carcasses. They are often used in crossbreeding programs. Disqualifications for registry include swirls on the upper third of the body, hair other than white, blind or inverted teats, fewer than six teats on a side, hernia, and cryptorchidism. The breed is considered a maternal breed (Fig. 22-12).

Potbellied Pig

The North American Potbellied Pig Association describes the potbellied pig as weighing no more than 95 lb and having a maximum height of 18 inches. Although some pigs stay small, between 40 and 50 lb, most pigs weigh closer to 120 lb. This breed of pig is not used for production of meat; it is more commonly kept as a pet. Most potbellied pigs are purchased between 6 to 8 weeks of age and are spayed or neutered within the first few months. Fifty percent of potbellied pigs are abandoned or sent to another home in the first year of life. This occurs because of unrealistic expectations of the owners and their unwillingness or inability to meet the pig’s needs (Fig. 22-13).

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Aug 11, 2016 | Posted by in INTERNAL MEDICINE | Comments Off on Porcine Husbandry

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