The history of the Welsh Pig is directly linked with British history. There was an increased demand for pork and bacon after the First World War, and Welsh Pigs prospered greatly after the Second World War when supplies of animal feed became more readily available. This led to a dramatic growth in the National Pig Herd, as licensed Welsh boars expanded from a mere 41 in 1949 to 1,363 in 1954, and Welsh Sow registrations rose from 850 in 1952 to 3,736 in 1953.
This fast-growing, easily-managed, commercial type pig was identified as one of the three breeds on which the modern pig industry should be based. The demand for larger and leaner carcasses to improve the economic value or rearing pork and bacon led to the introduction of the Landrace Pig from Sweden into the Welsh Herd Book. As part of a controlled breeding programme, George Eglington of Letton bought a group of three Landrace gilts and a boar for 4,500 guineas in order to improve his Welsh Pigs, and the rest is history. These pigs crossed with the Welsh, then became the foundation stock for the Modern Welsh Breed.
With the unrelenting drive towards intensification, leaner pork and bacon carcasses were required, regardless of the importance of the flavour. The larger breed companies that dominated the markets did not favour the Welsh Breed. This resulted in a dramatic decline of pigs kept.
Recent records show that only 82 Welsh pigs were registered in 2002! Welsh pigs were placed on the rare breed list to publicise the desperate plight of this special breed.
The recognition that some fat is required on a carcass to give pork its flavour means the Welsh pig now has a chance to survive. Present day strains have evolved as a result of careful breeding and selection for meat quality, whilst retaining the hardiness of its ancestors.Working with committed breeders, the popularity of the native pig of Wales is increasing rapidly. Welsh pigs are also valuable source of genetic material for breeders who wish to follow crossing or hybridisation programmes.
The old Glamorgan Pig Society was established in 1918, following an increase in the demand for pork and bacon during the First World War. Similar types of pigs were bred in the Counties of Carmarthen, Pembroke and Cardigan, which resulted in the formation of the Welsh Pig Society for West Wales in 1920. These two breed societies were amalgamated in 1922 to form the Welsh Pig Society.