Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science
Breeds of Livestock - Poland China Swine
It should be kept in mind that the founders of the Poland China of swine were no more conscious that they were forming a breed of livestock than any other practical producer of livestock who made great efforts to bring in improved seed stock to accomplish needed improvement. It is very difficult to evaluate the exact contribution that any particular breed or type may have made to the breed that was formed from the crossing and recrossing of many different kinds of breeding. It is difficult to imagine a breed of livestock owing a foundation debt to more different breeds than does the Poland.
One source of seed stock for the Poland China breed was the common stock that was found in the area. It is not known what this stock was or from where it came from, but it is known that many settlers that came into the Miami Valley at an early date brought with them swine from various areas. There is evidence that some of theses early hogs were of Bedford breeding, and, if so, probably originated in the herd of the Duke of Bedford, who was a Berkshire breeder. Some of the stock apparently came in from Kentucky and, no doubt, was of the same breeding as those hogs which later became known as the Hampshire. Naturally, the early native stock varied a great deal in type and in color markings.
The Poland China is unbeatable among various breeds of swine for the characteristic of maximum weight at any given age. The Poland Chinas are excellent feeders and they gain readily under conditions of good care and management. They are hogs that are very quiet in their dispositions and are rugged in their constitutions. The breed is known for having very substantial bone and for being sound in its feet and legs.
There is no criticism to be made of the prolificacy of the Poland China hogs although during the era of the Hot Blood, prolificacy was temporarily sacrificed. During the craze of the so-called Big Type the breed became very prolific, and litters of sixteen and seventeen pigs were not at all uncommon. These sows, however, were usually so large and flat sided that they made poor mothers and overlaid many pigs the first few days following farrowing. The better mother than the extreme types that have preceded it. There are no modern data as to the exact number of pigs raised by the various breeds. The Poland China has established its reputation and remains popular in commercial hog circles attests to the fact that it is a breed not to be criticized for inability to raise large, satisfactory litters.
Briggs, H.M. & D.M. Briggs. Modern Breeds of Livestock. Fourth Edition. Macmillan Publishing Co. 1980
National Pork Producers Council, P.O. Box 10383, Des Moines, Iowa 50306