What Colors Are Pigs?

By Rodney Wilson

Pastoral images are sure to feature a few barnyard icons, among them some very pink pigs. Though some of the more popular pig breeds do appear pink, hogs come in a variety of colors, and some breeds do not sport a spot of pink. Even the pigs popularly considered pink are officially recognized as white.

That's Right: Pink Is White

White pig in a pasture

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The pink pig that jumps to mind when the topic turns to pork is likely the Yorkshire, known in Britain as the Large White, a breed that provides the cornerstone for most commercial pork operations. While pigs of this breed do, in fact, possess pink skin, the hairs covering their bodies are white, and it is hair color that earns pigs their color classification. Other white pig breeds include the West French White, the British Lop, the Landrace, the Lacombe and the Chester White. White pigs, because of their pale coloration, require shade on sunny days to avoid sunburn.

Black Is the New Black

Side view of a little black pig

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Black pigs reside on the opposite end of the shade spectrum from their white counterparts, with the once-popular Large Black even having black skin, a notable characteristic that makes the breed immune to sunburn. Iberian pigs also feature black skin though not hair, as the breed is smooth and hairless. Other black breeds feature varying coloration, including the Berkshire, with white face and feet; the Poland China, with six white points; and the Mora Romagnola, a black pig with a pink abdomen.

Rusty Red Oinkers

Pig nursing piglets

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Though close on the color wheel to pink, red pigs are a sight that often catch observers by surprise. Durocs are a favorite in America, where they're considered second only to the Yorkshire. They grow a thick, rusty winter coat that they shed in summer for comfort. The Tamworth is another popular red breed, with coats that range from almost golden to dark red. Other red pigs include the Red Wattle and the Hereford hog.

Some Spotted, Some Belted

Spotted pig in a field of grass

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Many pigs feature different hues and shades in varying distribution. Some breeds, such as the white and black spotted Gloucestershire Old Spot and the half-black, half-white Spotted, were named after their characteristic spotting. Another interesting color distribution on pigs is belting: Bands of color around the body define a pig's appearance. Two examples of this characteristic are the Hampshire and the Swabian Hall. A pig of either of these breeds has a black head and tail, and a wide white belt that wraps around the pig's center.