The Pietrain pigs comes from a town called Brabant in Belgium. It originated from Norman pigs, and its mutation was due to a genetic mutation in the halothane gene. It has high lean meat percentage, but a low growth, conversion and reproduction rate (requires a high level of feeding to increase its weight and reproduction). On the other hand, it has the highest percentage of prime cuts, but with quite a lot of intramuscular fat. It is one of the breeds that provides most PSE (pale meat, soft and exudative).
About 1,600 female pigs of this breed can be found in Spain. It is considered to be one of the most muscular breeds in the world as well as having optimum qualities as in ham production, and adapting well to the different modes of operation.
In Spain there are 1,600 female Pietrains, transferring to their stock their high proportion of meat.
This race is the only one that does not produce fat in their flesh, so that the relationship between muscle weight and lean meat percentage is the highest. It produces 83% meat, so it is widely used in cross-breeding, to improve other breeds.
Their main characteristics are:
- Their structure and bones are quite adequate, equipped with stiff short, hairs and with a reddish hue around the black spots. Male pigs usually weigh between 260 and 300 Kg. and females between 230 and 260 Kg.
- It is white in colour, with irregular black spots.
- Head: not very heavy, short, concave line, and the fleshy part of the face is underdeveloped.
- Ears: rather small, situated towards the front of the head, with the tips folded upwards.
- Neck: with little jowl, small, and well joined to the head.
- Shoulders: rather muscular, securely fastened to the trunk and sturdy.
- Back: very long and wide, with curved shape.
- Spine: very robust and strong.
- Thorax: tubular-shaped, muscular, fairly broad and curved ribs.
- Abdomen: little development, located parallel to the back, and has at least twelve teats evenly distributed.
- Rump: concave-shaped to where the tail appears, and quite short.
- Buttocks and thighs: quite robust, with a convex form to the hock.
- Tail: situated low down.