Eight major pig breeds are commonly used in the United States. In general, the five dark breeds--Berkshire, Duroc, Hampshire, Poland China, and Spot are known and used for their siring ability and potential to pass along their durability, leanness, and meatiness to offspring. The three white breeds-- Chester White, Landrance, and Yorkshire are sought after for their reproductive and mothering abilities.
Yorkshire: The most sought after breed, Yorks are good mothers and produce large litters. They exhibit a long, big frame and are white with erect ears.
Chester White: Solid white, these pigs have medium sized, droopy ears. They usually have large litters and sought for their mothering ability. Boars of this breed are usually aggressive.
Berkshire: Black with six white points (nose, tail, and legs), these hogs have erect ears and a short, dished snout. They work well in enclosed facilities and are noted for their siring ability.
Duroc: These hogs, noted for their fast growth and good feed efficiency, are a reddish color with droopy ears. On the average, this breed needs less feed to make a pound of muscle than the other breeds.
Hampshire: These hogs are black with a white belt that extends from one front leg, over the shoulder, and down the other front leg. They have erect ears and are popular for their lean, meaty carcasses.
Poland China: Like the Berkshire, this breed has six white points on a black body. They have medium sized droopy ears and produce meaty carcasses with large loin eyes.
Spot: White with black spot, this breed has the same type of ears as the Poland China. These hogs are known for producing pigs with a high growth rate.
Landrance: Like the other white hogs, this breed is known for the sow's mothering ability. They have very large, floppy ears, are long-bodied, and have the highest weaned average of any breed, as well as the highest average post-weaning survival rate.