Medieval pasture pigs
Unfortunately all of the medieval pig breeds have become extinct, and in the 1980s the pasture pig, or grazing pig, was also officially extinct. Typical characteristics of medieval pigs were: elongated skull (similar to today’s wild boar), upright ears, long legs, slender body, hairy, with a ridge and a straight tail.
The Museum village of Berlin-Düppel started to rebreed the medieval pig breeds. There were three base pig breeds:
- Wooly-Pig (Mangalica)
- Bastard Pig (pig pasture + refined country pigs = German country pig)
- Red Pig (pasture pig)
The rebreeds are characterized mainly by their liveliness, stress resistance, and weather resistance, and are therefore perfect for life in the open air.
Even in prehistoric times domestic pigs liven mainly in the forest, which also meant there were occasional instances of back breeding with wild boar. Archaeological evidence of prehistoric stables for pigs is significantly lacking, but we do know that sometimes domestic pigs were tethered on stakes near oak or beech trees, which often resulted in ankle injuries on the hind legs.
Unlike modern pig breeds the pasture pig was significantly fatter, took longer to mature for slaughter, and had no water retention in its’ flesh, and it is for these reasons that it was richer in taste than our modern domestic pig.