A Trespass of Swine

the Porkopolis blog

Considerations of humanity and hogritude, because an insufficiency of pigs is one of the great faults of all that the gods have made manifest to man.

Fengjing and Shar Pei

fengjing pig

Who would do this to a pig or a dog, and why?… Fengjing and Shar Pei breeds both originated in China. The Shar Pei dog breed is over two thousand years old, while information on the age of Fengjing pig breed is unclear. Both breeds came under US scrutiny relatively recently.

sharpei dog

Imports of Char Pei began in the late 1970s as part of a Hong Kong based breeding program to re-establish the then almost extinct dog breed. The first official importation of Fengjing swine was in 1989 as a cooperative effort of the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), the University of Illinois, and Iowa State University.

Fengjing/Meishan

These organizations planned cross–breeding Fengjing with popular western pig breeds to take advantage of some of their characteristics such as taste, disease resistance and large litter sizes.

The most distinguishing characteristic of both the swine and dog breeds is the wrinkled skin, especially on the face and shoulders. Shar Pei fanciers say the dogs were bred for intelligence, strength, and for the valued “warrior scowl” that would increase their menacing appearance and help to intimidate barbarian invaders, foreign thieves and the like.

Shar Pei

Again, information on the Fengjing swine is incomplete, but I wonder, could that same ‘warrior scowl’ on these otherwise tasty swine make them seem unpalatable to hungry barbarians and assorted foreigners?

In a distant time and place where you most often caught your meat alive and butchered it yourself, this might have been a clever defensive breeding technique by Chinese farmers to discourage foreign invaders from swiping their swine. This seems to be a case of convergent human–engineered evolution, and so, littermate status is confirmed.

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A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.