The Gloucestershire Old Spots Breed Society was formed in 1913. The originators of that society called the breed ‘Old’ Spots because the pig had been known for as long as anyone could remember. The first pedigree records of pigs began in 1913, much later than it did for cattle, sheep and horses because the pig was a peasant’s animal, a scavenger and was never highly regarded. No other pedigree spotted breed was recorded before 1913, so today’s GOS is the oldest such breed in the world!

The breed originated around the Berkeley Vale on the southern shores of the river Severn in south west England. It was usually kept in the cider and perry pear orchards of the area and on the dairy farms. Windfall fruit and waste from the dairies supplemented its grazing habit. Local folklore says that the spots on its back are bruises from the falling fruit. Besides its correct title and variations such as Gloster Spot or just Old Spot, the breed is also known as The Orchard Pig and The Cottager’s Pig.

Little is recorded of the breed’s development but Victorian writers such as William Youatt in ‘The Pig’ and HD Richardson in ‘The Pig – Its Origins and Varieties’ seem to conclude that it was derived from crossing the original Gloucestershire pig – a large, off-white variety with wattles hanging from its neck, with the unimproved Berkshire, a sandy-coloured prick-eared pig with spots. This is reinforced in William Marshall’s ‘The Rural Economy of Gloucestershire’ ca.1780 and ‘The Complete Grazier’ by a Lincolnshire Grazier of 1816, among others.

  • Old Spots are the oldest spotted pedigree breed in the world

  • The most expensive British pig was an Old Spot
  • Old Spots are placid and easily managed – the most laid back pig
  • Old Spots are an ideal outdoor breed – tough and hardy
  • Some of the best tasting pork and bacon is from Old Spots
  • Old Spots make excellent and prolific dams

It is a large pig with lop ears; white in colour with a varying number of black spots anywhere on the body. It is a hardy animal and will happily live outside with the availability of a shelter. It will graze and enjoys rooting, and the sows have good maternal qualities.