The mulefoot is a breed of domestic pig that originated in Spain, although its exact origins are unknown. It is likely that the breed descended from hogs that were brought to the Gulf Coast of Spain and although pigs with non-cloven hooves have been known since the time of Aristotle, this is the only one to be considered a breed. This is due to its established standard and use in agriculture. The stock in America that was descended from Spanish lines was managed by selective breeding until the 1800’s and the breed received its standard in 1900. It was mostly bred in the Corn Belt and in the Mississippi River Valley, where it was popular for its lard and ham.
By the early twentieth century the population of Mulefoot pigs held two hundred pure bred populations and two breed associations. However, the breed began to decline in the mid-twentieth century and the last purebred herd was established in 1964 by R.M. Holliday in the state of Missouri. The breed registries were closed in 1976 and all of the breed information regarding bloodlines was lost. Mark Fields, a member of the Livestock Conservancy when it was known as the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, began working with R. M. Holliday in 1993 to restore the breed and maintain its purebred standards.
The Mulefoot pig typically reaches weights between 450 and 550 pounds, with males reaching higher weights than females. It is typically black in color, although some individuals can have white markings, and sows can give birth to litters between five and six piglets, which they raise well. It was named for its hooves, which are not cloven and resemble those of a mule. This breed is best kept in pasture environments where it can forage for its own food. Although it is a hardy breed, it is not immune to hog cholera as many people once suggested. Today, the Mulefoot pig is listed as critically endangered by the Livestock Conservancy.
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