History in Britian:

Wessex Saddleback Pigs were named after their county of origin "Wessex" an Anglo-Saxon kingdom containing Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset reflecting the ancient heritage of this breed.

As a consequence, the Wessex Saddleback was adapted to grazing water meadows and foraging the forests of the time (including the New Forest) eating windfall nuts and berries.

It is a large rangy flop eared pigs that does not dig much compared to modern breeds.

The characteristic white belt and floppy ears are also strong triats of the breed. The breed is known for its very docile nature and good mothering ability. The lop ears were thought to have evolved to shade the eyes from the sun and the black skin to prevent sunburn.

Wessex Saddlebacks are genetically adapted to a calorie restricted lifestyle and so are likely to run to fat if kept in traditional piggeries.

When kept in free-range foraging conditions however, the carcase is lean with excellent flavour that is incomparable to modern breeds and the marbeling lends itself to bacon and chartusserie production.

The Neapolitan Pig was introduced to England from China (via Italy) by Lord Western in the mid 1800's and was crossbreed with the Wessex Saddlebacks to produce the Essex Saddleback (now the British Saddleback) which was more compatible with modern farming methods.

In 1931 the NPBA Gazette explains that stringent rules were put in place by the Wessex Saddleback Pig Society at its foundation to prevent alien blood being brought in where the foundation on one side was not of New Forest origin. The breed prided itself on having resisted the trend to introduce Chinese blood. However increasing pressure to produce a commercial carcase from the newly introduced modern piggeries forced The Wessex Saddleback to extinction in its Native Britain by end of the 1950's

Fortunately, prior to its extinction, the Wessex saddleback was introduced to Australia and New Zealand and continues to survive here.

History of  Wessex Saddleback  into Australia and New Zealand

      Mr Forster of Oxford New Zealand is recorded as having imported white-shouldered pigs from England around the end of the nineteenth century (1890).

    In 1905 a Mr Hardcastle from Canterbury New Zealand described black pigs with white stripe over the shoulder being plentiful in the local forests

In 1931 Wessex Saddleback Pigs were imported by Mr R.Turpen, from Queensland, Australia.

     1931 & 1953 The A.P.B.A herd book records 17 Wessex Saddleback Pigs imported from England to Australia.

1963 and 1970 – Wessex Saddleback Pigs imported from New Zealand to Australia

In Australia in 2008 there were less than 100 registered breeding sows considered endangered by the "Rare Breeds Trust of Australia

The breed has been kept alive in Australia by the small backyard breeder

Some notable breeders in recent years have been

            Mandy Fleming (Corella Park)

            Katy Brown (Glen Isle)