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Italian Landrace

The Italian Landrace (Italian: Landrace italiana) is an Italian breed of domestic pig. It derives from the Danish Landrace breed developed in Denmark at the end of the nineteenth century, stock having been imported into Italy after the Second World War. The breed has been selected principally for suitability for the production of prosciutto crudo. It is, after the Large White Italiana, the second-most numerous pig breed in Italy. The Italian Landrace is lop-eared with white hair and unpigmented skin, and a very long in the body due to the presence of two or three supernumerary vertebrae – it has 15 or 16 rather than the usual 13 found in other Landrace breeds. Landrace pigs were imported into Italy in the twentieth century. The Italian strain has been bred for size specifically to produce the "Italian heavy pig" used to make prosciutto and other salami. The smaller Belgian Landrace is also raised in Italy, usually for fresh meat.

The original stock was brought to Italy from Scandinavian sources, but selection has been toward meat characteristics and away from extremes for the best in bacon production. Italian Landrace have been effective in improving the productivity and quality of swine in Italy as they have bred with other breeds and the local swine. Swine producers everywhere have liked the increased litter size, milk production, and ability to mother large litters to weaning of the Landrace. The fact that boars of the breed impart these characteristics to crossbred daughters have made them valued for improving swine of Italy for home consumption and for the rather limited markets abroad. One can always find selection within a breed to be directed more toward the requirements of the host country, and Italians do not put the emphasis on bacon that is placed there by northern Europeans.

A genealogical herdbook was established in 1970, and is kept by the Associazione Nazionale Allevatori Suini, the Italian national association of pig breeders. In 2007 there were 11,749 pigs registered; at the end of 2012 the total was 5959. Most of the population is concentrated in the Po Valley, where heavy pigs are mostly raised. Italian Landrace has become dominant as an improved breed in Italy. They also have the large drooped ears and white coat that characterizes the appearance of other Landrace strains. Meat production from the Italian Landrace is normally from first-generation crosses with either the Large White Italiana or the Duroc Italiana breed, slaughtered at a weight of 160–170 kg; almost all of it is used to make preserved meat products. The pigs are usually farmed intensively.

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