Brief History of Berkshire Hogs
Berkshires were first reported in Reading in the shire of Berks, England over 300 years ago by Oliver Cromwell's army. Berkshire pigs were noted for their bigger than normal size (for the time) and their high quality and rich flavored meat.
When Berkshires were first discovered they were sandy and reddish in color. After being crossed with Chinese and Siamese pigs, they got their classic look. Today Berkshires have an all black body with 6 white points (nose, feet, & tail).
Throughout the centuries Berkshire hogs were a favorite among the upper class of English farmers, including the English Royal Family. The Royal Family had a huge herd on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Berkshires in America
In 1823 the first Berkshire hogs were brought to the United States. Berkshire were bred with other breeds in America to help them get higher quality pork.
A group of Berkshire breeders and importers met in Springfield, Illinois in 1875 over their worries that Berkshires would become a "Common Hog". They banded together and formed the American Berkshire Association, which helps the Berkshire breed stay pure by only allowing pigs that are descendants of imported British Berkshires to be registered. The first Berkshire registered was Ace of Spades, a boar bred by Queen Victoria.
The Berkshire breed has grown in numbers in the United States since Berkshires first came in 1823.