Hampshire Pigs: 9+ Surprising Uses You Never Knew

Hampshire pigs are versatile and valuable for meat production, breeding, and non-food purposes like medical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic products.

what are hampshire pigs used for

When we think of pigs, our minds immediately go to pork, bacon, and Christmas hams. Hampshire pigs are one of the world’s most significant breeds and are popular worldwide for their versatility.

Hampshires continue to win many competitions, and commercial pig farmers consider them the best terminal sire hogs for all purposes, of which there are many besides food. 

Farmers raise Hampshire pigs for meat production as their meat is lean, they grow quickly and show excellent carcass quality. Hampshire pigs are also popular as breeding stock, with the sows being good mothers. Various pig parts are used for medical, pharmaceutical, and other non-food products.

Breeders love Hampshire pigs because they are robust, resilient, and can thrive in almost any conditions. Sows can produce up to 300 piglets in their lifetimes, which is ideal for breeders or even those looking to earn a decent disposable income. Read on to find out all the end uses for Hampshire pigs, and you will understand why they are one of the preferred breeds.

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What Are The Uses Of Hampshire Pigs?

Pig Breeds Hampshire Pigs: 9+ Surprising Uses You Never Knew

You can easily recognize a Hampshire pig with its black body and the white band around the shoulders, going down its forelegs. If you’re an average city dweller, you may not realize that the uses for pigs go beyond food, and this is especially true for Hampshire pigs, the most popular breed for all end purposes. What purposes do these pigs serve?

Hampshire Pigs Are Good For Meat

Hampshire pigs are a favorite in the meat production industry because it is the leanest of all North American breeds. They are large and well-muscled, and the carcass is lean and has very thin skin. 

Hampshire boars can weigh up to 650 pounds, and the sows typically reach 500-550 pounds, providing their fair share of lean meat from each carcass. Breeding selection has resulted in Hampshires having the best quantity and quality of meat.

Hampshire Pigs Are Good Breeders

Farmers breed Hampshire pigs extensively for the meat and manufacturing markets all over the world. Hampshire boars are often utilized in various crossbreeding projects to increase the leanness of the meat

Hampshire sows have excellent reputations as mothers. They live up to 12 years and can produce many litters of piglets during their lifetimes. This is also known as “longevity in the sow.” 

Heart Surgeons Use Hampshire Pigs’ Valves

Manufacturers use different parts of the pig for a host of medical purposes. Pig hearts are valuable for their valves. Surgeons often use pig valves in heart surgery to replace human valves, and they are suitable for use in all ages, from babies to the elderly. 

Doctors sometimes consider pigs’ valves superior to mechanical ones because they don’t require the same amount of anti-coagulant infusion and don’t stick.

Doctors Use Hampshire Pig Skin

Pig skin is very similar in its makeup to human skin, which makes it a good substitute for skin grafts when treating massive burns or if someone has lost large parts of their skin in other accidents

Pharmaceutical Companies Use Hampshire Pig Products

Pharmaceutical companies use by-products from pigs (including Hampshire pigs) for many different purposes, such as using gelatin for manufacturing capsules and pills. These companies also use it to coat vitamins. Additional pharmaceutical products are:

  • Cortisone
  • Blood fibrin
  • Plasmin
  • Relaxin
  • Estrogen
  • Pepsin
  • Insulin
  • Oxytocin

Manufacturers Use Hampshire Pigs For Cosmetics

Manufacturers make gelatin by boiling pigs’ tendons, ligaments, bones, and skin. They use gelatin for various cosmetic products such as face masks, shampoos, body lotions, face creams, sunscreen, hair spray, and bath products

The Food Industry Uses Hampshire Pig Products

Many food items and ingredients consist of gelatin, which manufacturers derive from pigs and cows. They use it to thicken puddings like Jell-O and fruit gelatins and include it in sweet treats like marshmallows, candies, ice cream, cakes, yogurts, and jelly sweets. Some cultures also use the pig’s blood for various kinds of blood sausage.

Manufacturers Have Many Other Uses For Hampshire Pigs

Industry makes loads of different non-food, non-medical products from pigs because nearly every part of their bodies is useful for something. They make bristles for brushes, leather from the skin,  and dog chews from the ears.

Other swine-derived products are fertilizers, glue, floor wax, crayons, chalk, rubber, and matches. Some parts of the pig are also used for printing and dying fabrics.

Hampshire Pigs Can Be Good Pets Or Companion Animals

Despite all the previously-mentioned uses for Hampshire pigs requiring their slaughter, these animals are typically docile and friendly, particularly the sows. Smaller ones can make good pets or companions, although it’s wise to stay away from the older boars. They tend to become aggressive with age. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Pros And Cons Of Hampshire Pigs

Hampshire pigs are a favorite breed to raise in the United States. But before you decide to embark on a pig-raising adventure, you should consider the pros and cons.

Pros Of Hampshire PigsCons Of Hampshire Pigs
Significant breed for all end uses.Males can become aggressive with age
Excellent quality meat – leanest of all breedsOne can get attached to them as pets, making it hard to process them.
Good breeders – sows can produce many piglets in their lifetimesThey consume a lot of food and water. What goes in must come out, and pig farms can smell very bad.
Raising extra pigs for sale will cover the costs of food and processing (similar to chickens). They can be destructive.
Sows make excellent mothers.
They have docile, friendly personalities.

Where Did Hampshire Pigs Originate?

Hampshire pigs are possibly the oldest American breed. History indicates that the breed descended from English breeds from Scotland and Northern England and that they arrived from Hampshire in England between 1827 and  1839. Hampshire pigs have been crossbred with many other breeds (like Berkshires) for the manufacturing and pork markets all over the globe.

Fun Facts About Hampshire Pigs

Farming with Hampshire pigs is an interesting journey. Here are some interesting pearls of wisdom about this breed of pig.

  • It is called the “thin rind breed” because of its leanness.
  • Other nicknames are Ring Middle, Saddlebacks, and McKay hogs.
  • You will need water troughs large enough to hold about 14 gallons per pig because they are big drinkers.


Hampshire pigs are a favorite amongst American breeds. They produce lean meat and are excellent breeders for all end purposes. Their value is not only in pork, but manufacturers make an endless list of products, some of which significantly contribute to the medical and pharmaceutical fields. Such noble creatures! We owe them much.

Further Reading

More FAQs

Are Hampshire pigs good for meat?

Hampshire pigs are excellent for meat production due to their muscular physique, resulting in leaner pork compared to other common breeds. Additionally, their carcass quality surpasses that of most other pig breeds.

How popular are Hampshire pigs?

Hampshire pigs are known for their distinct physical features, including a black body, erect ears, and a white band around the middle covering the front legs. In the United States, they rank as the fourth most-recorded breed raised as livestock and are believed to be the oldest American hog breed.

What are some unique facts about the origin of the Hampshire pig?

The Hampshire pig has some unique facts about its origin. It was developed in the United States from the Wessex Saddleback and other varieties that were imported from England around 1825. Throughout the late 20th century, it became one of the predominant breeds in the U.S. This breed is characterized by its trim and fine coat, and it has a distinct black color with a white saddle that extends to include the forelegs. Additionally, the Hampshire pig has distinctive ears.

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