American Guinea Hog

After many years of raising large hogs (Red Wattle, Glostershire Old Spots, and Large Blacks) we have decided to raise a small homestead hog that is safe for our young grandchildren to work with. We did a lot of research before deciding on a breed and found that the American Guinea Hog meets all of our current needs, including giving us the ability to home butcher. These little pigs are incredibly gentle and make a living for themselves on pasture with little help. The ALBC says this about them, and it's all true!

The Guinea Hog is a small, black breed of swine that is unique to the United States. Also known as the Pineywoods Guinea, Guinea Forest Hog, Acorn Eater, and Yard Pig, the breed was once the most numerous pig breed found on homesteads in the Southeast.

Guinea Hogs were expected to forage for their own food, eat rodents and other small animals, grass, roots, and nuts, and clean out garden beds. The hogs were also kept in the yard where they would eat snakes and thus create a safe zone around the house. These Guineas were hardy and efficient, gaining well on the roughest of forage and producing the hams, bacon, and lard essential for subsistence farming.

Guinea Hogs were widespread, and descriptions of them varied. Generally, the hogs were small, weighing 100-300 pounds, and black or bluish-black in color. They had upright ears, a hairy coat, and a curly tail. Beyond this, conformation varied, as hogs could have short or long noses and be big boned, medium boned, or fine boned. It is likely that many strains of Guinea Hogs existed. Since most of these are extinct, it is now impossible to weave together all the threads of the Guinea Hog story into a single neat piece.

The Guinea Hog became rare in recent decades as the habitat of the homestead hog disappeared, and it survived only in the most isolated parts of the Southeast. During the 1980s, new herds of Guinea Hogs were established, partly in response to the pet pig market.

Though the Guinea Hog would greatly benefit from additional research and description, it is clear that the breed is genetically distinct from improved breeds of hogs and merits conservation. Like other traditional lard-type breeds, however, the Guinea Hog faces great obstacles to its conservation. These hogs do not produce a conventional market carcass, since they are smaller and fattier than is preferred today. Guinea Hogs are, however, appropriate for use in diversified, sustainable agriculture. They would be an excellent choice where there is need for the services of hogs (such as grazing, rooting, tilling compost and garden soil, and pest control) and also the desire for a small breed. Under such husbandry, Guinea Hogs would thrive, as they always have.