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Swallow Bellied Mangalitsa

The Mangalitsa is a Hungarian breed of domestic pig. It was developed in the mid-19th century by crossbreeding Hungarian breeds from Szalonta and Bakony with the Serbian Šumadija breed. The Mangalica pig grows a thick, woolly coat similar to that of a sheep. The only other pig breed noted for having a long coat is the extinct Lincolnshire Curly-coated breed, from England. The three Mangalica breeds are: Blonde, Swallow-bellied, and Red. They all have the same behaviour; the only difference is the colour. The Blonde Mangalica is blonde, the Swallow-bellied (originally produced by crossing the Blonde Mangalica with the extinct Black Mangalica) has a blonde belly and feet with a black body, and the is ginger. Other breeds (Black, Wolf, and Baris) have died out as pure-bred forms, though their reconstruction from selective breeding of mixed varieties is being debated in Hungary.

The blonde Mangalitsa was originally bred for their lard in the 1830s by Austrian Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary, the breed slowly disappeared, reaching a low point under Hungarian communism, where government policy combined with changing dietary habits brought it to near-extinction. The breed was revived in the early 1990s by a series of breeders, including the Hungarian Peter Toth.

The blonde Mangalitsa was developed from older, hardy types of Hungarian pig crossed with the European wild boar, and a Serbian breed in Austro-Hungary. In 1927, the National Society of Fat-Type Hog Breeders (Mangalicatenyészt?k Országos Egyesülete) was established, with the objective of improving the breed. Mangalitsa was the most prominent swine breed in the region until 1950 (30,000 of them were in Hungary in 1943). Since then, the popularity, as well as the population, of Mangalitsa has been decreasing. Nowadays, the keeping of Mangalitsa has become a popular hobby. Slightly over 7,000 Mangalitsa sows in Hungary are producing around 60,000 piglets a year.

The Mangalitsa produces very little lean meat, so it has been gradually replaced by modern domestic breeds. It is usually fed with a mix of wild pasture, supplemented with potatoes and pumpkins produced on the farm. In Hungary, most Mangalica pigs are raised semi-intensively or intensively. Killing weight (for meat production) is generally achieved beyond 12 months of age, much longer and the additional fat gained becomes too excessive for most markets around the world.

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