Although Poland China and Spot swine both have forward-drooping ears, these are two distinct--and rather uncommon--American breeds. Both have black and white markings, but the first has a black body with white spots, while the Spot swine often shows a predominantly white body with black stains.
Poland China is one of the oldest American swine breeds, created between 1800 and 1850, in Butler and Warren, Ohio. It was originated by crossing such breeds as Berkshire and Irish Grazer, brought by British settlers.
The Spot, also called Spotted swine, is the result of the interbreeding between the old Poland China with local spotted hogs in Indiana. Originally called Spotted Poland China, the breed gained its current name in 1960.
Poland China are black swine with six white spots, normally on the feet, tail and face. Spots have large black spots, often on their backs, in contrast with their white bodies.
Considering their genetic links, Poland China and Spots have, in fact, more similarities than differences. Both breeds are excellent feeders and are known for their early maturation, strong bone structure, high fertility and fast-growing offspring. Females are extremely gentle and produce big litters that can exceed 12 piglets. The breeds are big animals. Adult hogs from both breeds can weigh up to 200 kg.
A qualified Poland China swine will have to present the breed's specific characteristics of color patterns and ear shape. Apart from that, an animal with fewer than six teets in a side, patches of red hair or more than one solid black leg will not be qualified by the Poland China Record Association.
A Spot swine will not be pedigree-certified by the National Spotted Swine Record if it has an entirely black head, erect ears or red hair.
The name Poland China originated from a Polish-born breeder from Ohio, says Andy Case, author of "Beautiful Pigs." The name became official during the National Swine Breeders Convention of 1872.
Although Poland China and Spot swine were bred in the past mostly for lard production, today they are often associated with lean meat. This feature makes Poland Chinas and Spots popular in cross-breeding programs.