About the Breed
In 1852 at the Keighley Agricultural Show in West Yorkshire where Joseph Tuley exhibited several of his famous Large White sows. However when it came to the juding some of the animals were considered too small for the class but “as the merits of these pigs were so extraordinary", a committee was summoned who decied the pigs were also not be eligible for the Small White class. So as a result a third class was created called the “Middle Breed” and so the Middle White was born.
The Small White had been developed for showing and derived from crossing local pigs with imported Chinese and Siamese pigs, from which it inherited the dished face, so much the characteristic of the Middle White. To create Middle White as we know it today, Tuley took a second cross with a Small White boar and females from his Large White herd. Unfortunatley the Small White breed became extinct in 1912.
Due to the “new” breed’s eating qualities, its early maturing and its very easy management, the Middle White went from strength to strength. When the National Pig Breeders Association was founded in 1884 the Middle White along with the Large White and Tamworth were the three foundation breeds and their first Herd books were published that same year. The Middle White remained very popular with butchers everywhere, particularly in London where the breed was known as “the London Porker” as the carcases could be cut into the small joints favoured in the first part of 20th Century.
The Second World war and meat rationing until 1954 led to a concentration on the “bacon” pig and the specialist pork pig was sidelined. Along with other “pork” breeds the numbers of Middle Whites declined sharply during this period. Fortunately a number of dedicated breeders ensured the continuation of the breed. In recent years the demand for meat with good eating qualities has once again led to Middle White pork appearing on the menus of top London restaurants, with “glowing reports” regarding its outstanding quality.
Middle White breeding stock has been exported world wide, and the breed is particularly appreciated in Japan where they are known as “Middle Yorks”. The Middle White has many assets. It is very easily managed. It is docile and can make a contribution to cross breeding programmes to improve eating quality.