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Swallow-bellied Mangalitza

The Mangalitza is a Hungarian breed of domestic pig. It was developed in the mid-19th century by crossbreeding Hungarian breeds from Szalonta and Bakony with the Serbian Šumadija breed. The Mangalitza pig grows a thick, woolly coat similar to that of a sheep. The only other pig breed noted for having a long coat is the extinct Lincolnshire Curly-coated breed, from England. The three Mangalitza breeds are: Blonde, Swallow-bellied, and Red. They all have the same behaviour; the only difference is the colour. The Blonde Mangalitza is blonde, the Swallow-bellied (originally produced by crossing the Blonde Mangalitza with the extinct Black Mangalitza) has a blonde belly and feet with a black body, and the is ginger. Other breeds (Black, Wolf, and Baris) have died out as pure-bred forms, though their reconstruction from selective breeding of mixed varieties is being debated in Hungary.

The blonde Mangalitsa was originally bred for their lard in the 1830s by Austrian Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary, the breed slowly disappeared, reaching a low point under Hungarian communism, where government policy combined with changing dietary habits brought it to near-extinction. The breed was revived in the early 1990s by a series of breeders, including the Hungarian Peter Toth.

The blonde Mangalitza was developed from older, hardy types of Hungarian pig crossed with the European wild boar, and a Serbian breed in Austro-Hungary. In 1927, the National Society of Fat-Type Hog Breeders (Mangalicatenyészt?k Országos Egyesülete) was established, with the objective of improving the breed. Mangalitza was the most prominent swine breed in the region until 1950 (30,000 of them were in Hungary in 1943). Since then, the popularity, as well as the population, of Mangalitsa has been decreasing. Nowadays, the keeping of Mangalitza has become a popular hobby. Slightly over 7,000 Mangalitza sows in Hungary are producing around 60,000 piglets a year.

The Mangalitza produces very little lean meat, so it has been gradually replaced by modern domestic breeds. It is usually fed with a mix of wild pasture, supplemented with potatoes and pumpkins produced on the farm. In Hungary, most Mangalitza pigs are raised semi-intensively or intensively. Killing weight (for meat production) is generally achieved beyond 12 months of age, much longer and the additional fat gained becomes too excessive for most markets around the world.