The Gloucestershire Old Spot is sometimes known as the Gloucester or Gloucester Old Spot. They are a large pig native to England and are well known for their prolificacy and milk production. The Gloucestershire Old Spot produces an excellent carcass which, paired with their prolificacy, is working to rapidly increase their popularity. A docile animal, the Gloucestershire Old Spot sow is easy to handle and quite friendly. Sows usually produce an excess of milk, more than enough to feed their large, strong litters.
Gloucestershire Old Spots do well in a variety of conditions. Provided they have a dry enclosure, they can withstand horrible weather. The Gloucestershire Old Spot does very well on very poor feed. Early in the breeds history, they were left to feed on only what they could forage, and this ability to live off a very strange variety of foods (including rotten fruit, whey, and vegetable) has remained. Gloucestershire Old Spots are a rather intelligent breed. Unfortunately, they are rare. Gloucester meat is tender and flavorful.
A large animal, the Gloucestershire Spot is one of the few large breeds of pig found in England. They are generally white with black spots. Once known as the “Orchard Pig” because of their tendency to forage for food among the castoffs in the orchard, the Gloucestershire Old Spot has been in existence for over a hundred years. It finds its origin in the Berkley Vale in Gloucestershire, England, where it was bred in the 1800s.
They were likely bred from the Cumberland, Lincolnshire Curly Coat, and a native breed that was described by Youatt and Martin in 1855 as having an unattractive dirty white coat. Although the Gloucestershire breed never became very popular, there were enough aficionados of the breed in 1913 that the Gloucestershire Old Spots Breed Society was formed. The Gloucester decreased in numbers rapidly to World War II, because at this time pig breeders were more interested in production than in a hardy outdoors pig. By the 1960s, they were almost extinct. Fortunately, since the early 1990s, varieties of organizations have been working to revive the breed. The Livestock Breeds Conservancy sponsored the importation of twenty Gloucester piglets to Kelmscott Farm Foundation in Maine in 1995.