Poland China Pig: Everything You Need to Know About This Breed

The Poland China pig is one of the largest of all pig breeds. It is also the oldest American breed of swine, which might be surprising to you considering the breed name. The American versions of these pigs aren’t actually from Poland – however, their ancestors (also called Poland China pigs) are. 

The cross-breeding process of the Poland China swine was not a conscious effort at producing a new breed. 

Rather, it was just an effort to improve the seed stock of the Poland China pig. However, the Polish China swine is unrivalled among various swine breeds at any given age, in terms of maximum weight.

Here are some more fun Polish China pig facts to uncover!

poland china pig breed

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Poland China Breed Background and History

poland china pig breed

The Poland China pig origin can be traced to the mid 19th century in Butler and Warren counties, Ohio. The breed is a fusion of Poland China pig and Big China pig, as well as the Berkshire and Hampshire.

The origin of the name, Poland China, was at a meeting of the National Swine Breeders Convention in Indianapolis in 1872. 

The breed immediately became widespread in the United States, and by the end of the 19th century, it was one of the country’s most popular pig breeds. 

What is the Poland China Pig Known For?

The Poland China pig is distinct from most of the other pig breeds. This is why it is preferred by a large number of pig farmers. We have listed some of what the Poland China pig is known and used for below.

1. Breeding

The Poland China Pig is very prolific when it comes to breeding and producing litter. The sows can produce up to 17 litters at once. While this certainly isn’t out of the ordinary when it comes to pig litter sizes, it’s definitely not bad, to say the least. 

2. Temperament

The Poland China pig is calm and docile. It is also adaptable to a variety of environments due to its calmness and docility. Because of this, it can be raised on pasture as well as in confinement. 

3. Feeding

The Poland China pig is a good feeder. It has a great feed to meat ratio, which means that its feed is actively converted to quality meat at a better percentage than you might find with other breeds – you will be able to spend less money on feed, overall, compared to other breeds.

As is the case with all other pig breeds, the Poland China pig is an omnivore, which means that it can eat both plants and other animals (though you should avoid feeding your pigs meat whenever possible). 

4. Meat

Another Poland China pig fact to be aware of is that it is one of the most popular swine pig breeds in the United States. It is ranked first in the United States for pork production. The Poland China pig is also an excellent lard pig

The Poland China swine is made of mostly lean meat. It is perfect for making sausages, bacon, hams, and pork chops.

5. Hygiene

The Poland China pig is different from most of the other pig breeds in its attention to sanitation. While most pigs don’t deserve the reputation they receive for being messy, unclean creatures, Poland China pigs are at the top of their cleanliness game! The Poland China pig prefers to live in a clean environment. 

6. Lifespan

The Poland China pig has a longer lifespan than most of the other pig breeds. This ultimately increases its market value, especially as it grows and if you are using your pigs for long-term breeding purposes. 

7. Body Structure

The Polish China Pig is known for its large-sized body. It also has strong bones and thick muscles. This pig also has firm legs and is sound on its feet, reducing the likelihood of various hoof-related injuries.  

8. Resilience

The Poland China pig easily adapts to a new and unknown environment. It has natural dependability and a sturdy body structure that makes it able to get live comfortably in both an enclosed space and a meadow pasture.

The Polish China pig can also survive in different climatic conditions. Its resilience and quick adaptability make a variety of climatic conditions survivable for them.

What Does a Poland China Pig Look Like?

poland china pig breed

The Poland China Pig is easy to identify, once you know what to look for. It is a very large pig, even among the heaviest of pig breeds. 

The Poland China pig description is as follows: it is a mostly black body, except the white points on the face, feet, and tip of the tail. There might also be an irregular spray of white on the body. The Poland China pig is heavy-jowled, and its ears are medium-sized and droop to the side of its face.

This hog has a big frame, as well as a lean, long body. The breed is also muscular, contributing to the high pork production rate compared to other breeds in the United States.

What is the Size of a Poland China Pig?

The Poland China Pig is large. It is among the largest of all pig breeds, but exactly how large are we talking about? 

The Poland China boar weigh between 250 and 363 kg (550 to 800lb) on average, while the sow weighs between 226 and 295 kg (500 to 650lb). 

What Color are Poland China Pigs?

The Poland China pig is black, mostly. However, its nose is white, as well as its legs and the tip of its tail. 

This breed of hog also sometimes has six white patches on its body. In pure Poland China pig, the pig must have more than one leg of a pure black color. 

Are Poland China Pigs Aggressive?

The Poland China Pig has a calm demeanor. As is the case with most pig breeds, this one also maintains a strict social hierarchy. It’s easy to see who is the “top hog” in the group.

These pigs are excellent feeders who gain weight easily when given proper care and management. It performs exceptionally well if you’re looking for a pig for commercial pork production. 

Both boars and sows of this breed are both adaptable to a variety of environments, from meadow huts to whole confinement operations, thanks to their natural dependability, durable, sturdy structure, and the capacity to get used to practically any environment. 

Poland China Pig Challenges

poland china pig breed

The Poland China Pig is a farmer-friendly breed for all the reasons described above. However, due to the large size of the breed, it is sometimes can be challenging to take care of them. It’s also easy for these pigs to become obese, which can cause a variety of health problems as well. 

A more pressing challenge of the Poland China pig is its health. This pig, like most of the other highly muscled breeds, gets excitable in conditions of environmental and social stress and exercise. These occur most often during mixing and transportation.

Under such stress conditions, the Polish China pig may develop the Porcine Stress Syndrome (PSS) or Malignant Hyperthermia Syndrome (MHS). These syndromes are characterized by a high rise in body temperature, digestion problems, and muscle rigidity. Eventually, the pig succumbs and dies spontaneously. 

Limiting stress in your pig herd is the best way to prevent these issues, as is limiting feed (in the event of overweight pigs). Consider adding an all stock supplement like Rooster Booster to your herd’s water supply if you’re concerned about stress.

How to Raise Poland China Pigs

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The Poland China pig is raised quite similar to other kinds of pig breeds. 

If you’re interested in starting a meat business with these hogs, you’re in luck. Meat consumers are now more aware of where their meat comes from, so many of them prefer to buy from small, local producers than large, corporate farms. 

We have listed the things you have to put in place to raise your Poland China swine below. 


First, you have to build a pen. The Poland China pig requires a dry, secure environment that protects it from the weather and allows them to move around freely. 

You may hear from some people that a fully grown pig only needs about 20 square feet of space. However, that claim is not true. You should provide each pig about 50 square feet of space for a fully healthy pig – the more space, the better. 

Although your pigs don’t necessarily need a full-blown barn, you should also include at least a partial shelter because your Poland China pigs, like other fair-skinned and fair-haired breeds, can sunburn if they do not have protection from direct sunlight in hot weather.

Unlike most pig breeds, the Poland China pig does not necessarily require a mud wallow. That said, it’s a good idea to provide your animals with plenty of water during the hotter months of the year so they can choose to build one if desired.

You should keep its pigpen clean, especially by regularly cleaning it to control flies covering your pigs. The pig waste is a ready source of manure that you can use to fertilize your garden or sell to other farmers or gardeners who needs it.

When to Buy Your Pigs

You have to consider the time of the year you buy your Poland China piglets. For the most part, pigs grow in size faster during warm weather (around 60 to 70°F is ideal), but that’s not always the case. 

Start your pig-raising operation in the early spring or late summer, if possible. This way, the piglets will be growing very fast and in ideal conditions. 

If it gets extremely hot during the summer months, you may wish to consider raising your herd in the winter. You’ll get a better deal on piglets if you buy in the fall and while you’ll have things like frozen waterers and other wintertime issues to deal with, you may find that your pigs grow better when they’re not overheated.

All in all, it’s really a matter of what works best for you!


As you probably assume, pigs are generally good at eating. This may sound surprising, but a 50-pound piglet will grow to 250 pounds in about 100 days if given constant feed and water. The growth spurt is even much more remarkable for Poland China pigs.

It is best to feed your Poland China pigs with a premixed commercial feed to ensure that your pigs have a balanced diet. A 125 pound growing Poland China pig would do fine with a 14% protein mix, although some farmers prefer to feed their pigs with a 16% or even 18% protein mix.

As we mentioned earlier, pigs are omnivores. You can give your pigs your leftovers. Another option is to feed your pigs fruits, vegetables, and even eggs.

You have to keep in mind, though, that things that are poisonous to humans are also poisonous to pigs. It is also best to boil any human food you are planning to give to your pigs. Also, make sure you’re not relying solely on scraps to feed your pigs.

Water for Your Pigs

You have to provide your Poland China pig with enough water. This is because pigs generally drink a lot of water. They can consume 2 to 4 gallons (7 to 15 l) of water per day, on average. 

You can fill a tub with clean water and keep it rooted to the ground throughout the day. If you just put the tub on the ground, the pig will most likely tip it over and play with it.

However, tubs require continuous refilling, especially in the summer. Rather, you could get an affordable water trough for pigs that connect to a water source and use a float system to manage the water. You’ll need a heated waterer like this in the winter. 

When to Butcher Poland China Pigs

poland china pig breed

The Poland China pig is a lard pig, so after rearing it to maturity, the next logical step is butchering. Since it’s a lard pig, some producers choose to wait a bit longer to allow the fat reserves to really build up. Most pigs in the United States are butchered at 250 to 300 pounds live weight. 

Here’s how to tell if your pigs are ready to be butchered. 

Visual Inspection

You can check out the body features of your Poland China pigs to know when they are ready to butcher. Full hams, double chin, wide butt, and a nearly flat back are all signs that your pigs are ready to butcher.


You can check your hogs’ weight through either a portable small livestock scale or a truck scale. 

It is easier to get the portable livestock scale, so we advise you to go for this. However, if you intend to go for or own a large-scale pig farm, the truck scale will be a better choice for you.

Don’t want to deal with getting your pigs on a scale? There are simple calculations you can do with a tape measurer to get an approximate idea of their weight, too.  

Should I Raise the Poland China Pig Breed?

poland china pig breed

The Poland China pig has characteristics that are farmer-friendly, as it prefers a clean environment to a dirty one, unlike other pigs.

The Poland China pig has a high feed to meat ratio. And, since the breed is naturally larger than most pig breeds, you can be sure of a large haul of meat when the pig is ready to butcher.

You might see the process of starting your pig farm as daunting. But, remember: you don’t have to rush. Take things easy, one step at a time. Choose where you want to start now and, in no time, your Poland China pigs are ready to butcher.

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Will you raise the Poland China pig after reading this post? Let me know in the comments!

Want to learn more about farming? Be sure to take a look at these other articles.

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Author: Anna B

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