Tamworth Pig

Place of origin:  Ireland

About the year 1812 it is said that Sir Robert Peel, being impressed with the characteristics of them, imported some of them and started to breed them on his estate at Tamworth, England.

It is among the oldest of pig breeds, but as with many older breeds of livestock, it is not well suited to modern production methods and is listed as “threatened” in the United States and “vulnerable” in the UK by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, as fewer than 300 registered breeding females remain.

What is an interesting fact about Tamworth pigs?

An English authority, who calls it the “Mahogany” or “Grizzly” pig, says it was extensively bred in several of the midland counties of England early in the nineteenth century. When the droves were mainly kept in the woods and forests. They are not a composite breed and are thought by many to be one of the oldest and purest breeds in Britain.

Breed characteristics

The Tamworth pig is of medium to large size, with a long, narrow body, supported by long legs. The skin coloration which covers the body ranges from pale gingery to dark mahogany red.

The head exhibits an elongated head shape with ears that are erect and pointed.  

Other Special Characteristics:

•A very hardy breed

•The sows are excellent mothers

•They are pigs are kind and gentle

•The Tamworth farrows around 7.80 piglets

•Climate Tolerance:  adaptable to a variety of climates

•The Tamworth pig is known for  having the finest and most favorable meat of all pig breeds

Nightpark Rita 17, catching the last rays of the day!

Hi my name is Billy Collins, and I am a hobby farmer at heart. 

Our passion is to rear and breed rare breed pedigree Tamworth, and Duroc pigs, for conserving their breeds. They are raised  free-range so that they can exhibit their natural behaviours and we also adhere to the 5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare.

The first Tamworth pigs arrived here from Northern Ireland in October 1995, with my mother importing 2 gilts of Golden Rose bloodline.

A young Priorsmeadow Glen 3 tucking into breakfast!

Tamworth pigs have the closest heritage to Ireland compared to other breeds. Sir Robert Peel, impressed with the ‘Irish Grazer’ pigs he had seen, brought some back to his estate near the town of Tamworth, Staffordshire around 1812.

Tamworth pigs have a friendly temperament, though mothers can be quite protective of their young. They produce delicious pork and bacon as confirmed when the meat came top in a “taste test” carried out by Bristol University which used both commercial and rare breed pigs in a scientifically-controlled experiment. Unlike commercially reared pigs which are fed ad-lib, feed levels need to be controlled to avoid laying down excess back fat. They also cross very well with modern breeds such as Duroc.

Their red coat is adaptable to different climates. They are a very hardy outdoor breed; an alert and busy pig, with a long snout which makes them effective foragers and particularly useful in clearing scrub ground and woodland undergrowth.

With Tamworth boars hitting a low of 17 in the 1970’s following pedigree breeding stock decline after World War 2, pedigree boars (Royal Standard, Glen and Golden Ranger bloodlines) were imported into the UK from Australia by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in 1976. Our first Glen bloodline boar – Bellevue Glen – arrived here from Belfast Zoo in 1999; an 8th generation descendant of the imported boar Aroora Glen 176. 24 years and a further 5 generations later, Priorsmeadow Glen 3 continues to play his part in the conservation of the breed.

Nightpark Rita 17 – possibly the oldest remaining pedigree sow of the Rita bloodline (born 28th February 2016). The next eldest Rita sow – Kerribella Rita – born  11th November 2016 recorded in British Pig Association Herd book resides at Wirralstone Farm, Burton, England.

The Tamworth pig was recognised as a breed in 1865 and entered at the Royal Show that year, with a herd book established in 1885.