Pigs aren’t necessarily known for being the cutest animals by most people’s standards, but I still think they’re pretty adorable. What’s not to love about those big snouts and pot bellies? If traditional pigs aren’t your idea of endearing, you may change your mind when you learn about the Mangalitsa pigs. Also known as the “sheep pig,” these babies are super fluffy and cuddly just like sheep, but they’re 100% pig. How amazing are they?
- The Mangalitsa is a Hungarian breed. This domestic pig was first developed in the mid-19th Century when Hungarian pigs from Nagyszalonta and Bakony were cross-bred with the European wild boar and the Serbian Šumadija breed, resulting in its thick, curly coat. The breed was incredibly popular in its home country in the early 1900s, and an organization known as the National Society of Fat-Type Hog Breeders was even developed in 1927 specifically to improve the breed.
- The breed started to decline in the 1950s. While there were 30,000 “sheep pigs” in Hungary in 1943, by the 1950s, that population started to rapidly decline as breeders focused their efforts elsewhere. By 1991, there were less than 200 left in the country. Then, Spanish company Monte Nevado stepped in and began breeding them again and there are nearly 7,000 sows now in the country that produce about 30,000 piglets a year.
- Yes, people actually eat these pigs. Like much livestock, these pigs were primarily grown for food sources. However, their lean meat and how little the breed typically yields means they’ve become less popular for this purpose and are more of a hobby now. However, you can still find and purchase sausages and ground pork made from Mangalitsa pigs in Hungary.
- Less eating, more cuddling. While many people have begun raising Mangalitsa pigs simply for how adorable they are, we should continue to move towards loving these animals as pets rather than food.