While many people may not consider pigs to be the most adorable animals, I personally find them quite charming, with their large snouts and round bellies. However, if you're not fond of traditional pigs, you might change your mind after learning about the Mangalitsa pigs. These pigs, also known as "sheep pigs," are incredibly fluffy and cuddly, just like sheep, but they're entirely pigs. It's truly amazing!
1. The Mangalitsa Is A Hungarian Breed
In the mid-19th century, the Mangalitsa pig was created by breeding Hungarian pigs from Nagyszalonta and Bakony with the European wild boar and the Serbian Šumadija breed, resulting in its distinctively thick and curly coat. The breed gained immense popularity in Hungary during the early 1900s, and in 1927, the National Society of Fat-Type Hog Breeders was established with the sole purpose of improving this breed.
2. The Breed Started To Decline In The 1950s
In 1943, the population of Mangalitsa pigs in Hungary was around 30,000. However, due to a shift in breeders' focus, their numbers began to decline rapidly in the 1950s. By 1991, the breed had nearly become extinct, with fewer than 200 left in the country. Fortunately, a Spanish company called Monte Nevado intervened by restarting the breeding process. As a result, there are now almost 7,000 sows in Hungary that produce approximately 30,000 piglets annually.
3. Yes, People Actually Eat These Pigs
Although the Mangalitsa pigs were initially raised primarily for their meat, their lean meat and lower yield have resulted in a decline in popularity for this purpose, making them more of a hobby breed nowadays. Nonetheless, sausages and ground pork made from Mangalitsa pigs can still be found and purchased in Hungary.
4. Less Eating, More Cuddling
Although many people now raise Mangalitsa pigs purely for their cuteness, we should continue to encourage the notion of loving these animals as pets rather than as a source of food.