The Berkshire pig (Sus scrofa domesticus) is an English breed that originates from county Berkshire. The breed dates back to the 1600’s and is said to be the breed fed upon by General Oliver Cromwell and his troops whilst camping in the Thames valley. Those Berkshires were quite different from the modern breed, however. Originally sandy in color the modern Berkshire is predominantly black, thanks to crossbreeding with Asian breeds in the late 18th and early 19th century. This has led to some debate as to how old the official breed actually is.
The Berkshire pig is a rugged breed that does well as an outdoor pasture animal, and thanks to its marbled, pink colored meat, is more flavorful than most other pig breeds. Since it is one of my favorite pig breeds I decided to pick up the 2017 Berkshire pig by Safari Ltd. I did it just in time too, the figure is now retired and getting increasingly hard to fine.
The Safari Berkshire pig measures 4” (10.16 cm) from snout to rump and stands 2” (5.08 cm) tall at the shoulder. The Berkshire is classed as a medium sized breed, boars can weigh up to 600 lbs. (280 kg) and sows weigh about 100 lbs. less. They stand about 29” (73.66 cm) tall at the shoulder. Using shoulder height this puts the Safari figure at 1/14 in scale.
The Safari Ltd. figure nicely depicts the short legged, compact body of the Berkshire breed. The snout is short with a slightly upturned nose and pointed, forward tilted ears. It’s beautifully sculpted with nicely defined musculature and anatomy that’s made visible by the pig’s virtually smooth body.
Hair is etched into the sculpt but it’s a coat of fine hair. Berkshire’s are a shaggy breed so longer hair would have been preferable. This figure represents a female pig, or sow. Fourteen nipples are sculpted on the underside.
The Safari Berkshire is black with pale pink stockings on each leg, and a pink slash on the snout. The nose itself is painted with a shiny finish to appear wet and lifelike. The pink portions of the body should in fact be white and the curly tail should also be tipped in white but isn’t.
The Safari Berkshire pig is a beautiful example of domestic pigs in general but there are a few things that could make it a better representative of the Berkshire breed. All well, as it stands this is the only Berkshire pig figure that I’m aware of and having a toy pig that represents a breed other than your standard pink pigs is refreshing.
If you want one, you’ll have to act fast as it’s retired now and quickly becoming rare among online distributors. If the breed doesn’t matter but you like the figure itself then I would recommend looking into the Safari Hampshire pig which is also quite good and still in production.