The Large Black

also known as Boggu

Place of origin: native to Cornwall, Devon and Essex. The breed is also known by some other names such as Boggu, Cornwall Black and Devon.

The Large Black nearly became extinct during the 1960s and remains one of the rarest British pig breeds. In 1973 the breed was put on Rare Breed Survival Trust’s critically endangered livestock list.

What makes the Large Black pork special?

Originally known as the Lop-Eared Black, the breed was selected for large size and efficiency of production on pasture and other forages. The large black is a darker pork with a short muscle fiber that makes it more tender.

Breed characteristics

The Large Black has a deep, long, and stocky body structure, which is covered by long black hairs. This coloration is a bonus as it protects their skin from sunburn.

The body is supported by strong, straight legs, which in turn supports their large heads, ending with a broad and short nose. They have big, long lop-ears, which reach down to their snouts, and which easily covers the pig’s eyes.

Other Special Characteristics:

•Very hardy breed

•Grazer not a digger, if given space

•Good mothers, with strong maternal instincts

•They are known for their docility  and extremely friendly animals

•Average litter, litters of 8 – 10 piglets

•Climate Tolerance: they can thrive in both hot climates and cold climates

•Produces pork which is good quality meat known for being flavorsome and tasty

Hi, my name is Noel Hannigan. My interest in farming as spanned over most of my life. The farm where I am living has been in my family for around seventy-five years or so. I have been fortunate over the last several years to have taken over the family farm.

My parents had moved away from dairy farming some years ago! So, when I began my own journey there were no animals onsite of our own when we started.

I had always had an interest in farming and nature and wanted to turn my interest into lifestyle! I was passionate about returning part of it to the way it was when I was a child. To be self sufficient with pigs, hens, beef, dairy and fruit and vegetables.

For my initial start up I decided to start with pigs as it was a relatively low start up cost, as I did not have the capital to invest in a big way and felt pigs were a good starting point!

It was important to me that I learnt as much as I could beforehand about pigs, so I found a pig keeping course with Inagh free range farm. Once I had completed my course, I sourced 2 large black pigs and began my pig keeping journey, raising them for my own freezer. It was an interesting few months!

As with everything there are always a few stumbles, such as, understanding how much work is involved in rearing animals and looking after the farm while maintaining a full-time job and family during a pandemic that limited access to help! Plus, maybe getting the feed a bit wrong on my first pigs…in being too generous with it!

I also found the meat from this breed a little on the sweet side which I had not expected! So, I decided to switch from large black to the more popular Duroc OSB cross and have never looked back!

If I were to offer any advice to anyone looking to become a pig keeper, it would be to talk to someone who has experience with pigs and experienced different breeds! Good fencers and join the Irish Pig Society!