From Pig

The Essex is a breed of pig with 'pricked' ears and a black ground colour, with a broad band of white 'sheeting' across the shoulders.

Like other old British pig breeds, the ancestor of the Essex may have originated in the county of the same name from selective breeding of local wild pigs. It was originally a smallish, 'coarse' black-and-white pig that was noted for being easy to keep and cheap to feed, qualities that ensured its popularity with smallholders. The Old Essex, as it came to be known, was deliberately 'improved' in the mid 19th century by crossing it with imported pigs.[2]

The Essex pig remained locally popular until as recently as the mid 1950s, and had actually increased in numbers during the Second World War and immediately afterwards, based on its reputation for hardiness and its ability to feed itself by foraging.[3].


  2. Wiseman, J. The pig: a British history, Duckworth, 2000, p.45
  3. The Decline of Traditional Breeds, British Pig Association, accessed 23-02-10