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Duroc Pigs: Breed Profile, Characteristics and Photos


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Duroc pigs are absolutely smashing it when it comes to their popularity as they are considered to be amongst the top pig breeds for any farmers out there.

In fact, we would argue that no matter if you are a new farmer just dipping your toes in the craft or if you’re an old experienced veteran with a lot of decades under your belt, you can still get the best deal possible by opting for a Duroc pig over any other type of pig breed out there.

But what makes this breed actually special and more importantly, what’s all the hype about? Are they the best because they are affordable or is this a case of it just being the easiest pig breed to find out there?

These are the questions that we will be answering together in a couple of minutes as we delve deep into what makes the Duroc pigs the best option for you.

With all of that being said, let’s just hop right into a bit of a history lesson on the wondrous Duroc pig in all of its glory:

Duroc Pigs Origins

Duroc Origin

The world was forever changed when two very unique strains of hogs started to mix and match their genes around, giving birth to some of the most illustrious breeds we’ve ever seen in our lives.

The first of these was known as the Jersey Reds, and it was a strain that almost immediately started to become popular around the 1850s, when farmers saw just how delicious their meat was and how many of them there were to exploit in the first place.

It is said that this strain had lived here for far longer than that although this is unknown for sure, all that we know is that the “red hogs” were extremely popular due to their massive size, rugged constitution and prolificacy.

There were definitely a lot of hog strains going around at the time, but very few of them could match the overall quality of the reds around this time period.

They became the norm in no time as everybody wanted to get their hands on this delicious meat of theirs. Their name became synonymous with quality meat and before long it was even used in advertising by Joseph B. Lyman, or the Agricultural Editor of the New York Tribune.

But that is all besides the point as while this breed was catching on, a different strain of hogs could be spotted amongst the rest, catching up and even surpassing the red hogs in sales as the years rolled on by.

Duroc Origins

By 1929, Harry Kelsey brought his very own pair of Duroc pigs with him to New York, where he didn’t bother to check out whether they were the right breed or not for him. He only cared that they came from a batch of red hogs, so he figured he had done the right thing purchasing them.

Much to his surprise though, the pigs he did purchase were a but smaller and compact than the red hogs, and not only that but their meat was also far more succulent and delicious, which made him realize that he may have just hit the jackpot with this purchase right here.

It wasn’t long before the breed started to catch a lot more attention than ever before and just like that, it spread like wildfire as pretty much everyone wanted to own their very own Duroc pig, as mister Harry Kelsey himself decided to name them.

It is also said that the modern Duroc strain was mixed with the Tamworth pig genes, but there are no actual recollections of the mixing having been successful.

They did try to mix and match their genes around 1882, when two breeders decided to import a bunch of Tamworth pigs to add to the mix, but none of their experiments resulted in a success and honestly, there are no real signs of any Tamworth genes having been passed on down the line to begin with.

All in all, this is the bright and shiny history of the Duroc pig breed. While it may not have been as eventful as some of the other breeds out there, it is important to note that this breed made its way to New York by complete accident.

This butterfly effect ended up pretty much introducing the breed into the market and before we knew it, it became a staple of our diets even back then.

Duroc Pigs’ Physical Traits

Duroc pigs
Photo By Bits and Splits / stock.adobe.com

As we start off with Duroc’s typical characteristics we first need to mention the main reason why you would ever consider getting one for yourself, that being the overall size of the breed.

You’ll be somewhat happy to hear that this breed is classified as a medium-sized one, but despite the fact that it may not be as large as some of the other breeds out there, the quality of the meat here is downright astonishing to say the least.

Weight wise, you are looking at a fairly large creature that will definitely end up weighing about 800 pounds or more for the boars and about 700 pounds for the sows.

Interestingly enough though, the weight did change a lot over the years as the Duroc breed that you can get on the market right now is nowhere near as massive as it was back in the 1900s.

In fact, back then, it was quite normal to get yourself a 1,000 pounds Duroc pig as most of them managed to reach that size in no time.

But, over the years, because of constant breeding which was done for the sake of improving their meat’s quality, they did get smaller but they are also a lot more delicious now than ever before for sure.

Duroc weaners
The Irish Pig Society / facebook.com

Color wise you are looking at a very interesting pig breed here as the Duroc pig really stands out due to its dark red color.

While this will definitely depend on the actual pig itself though, you can be sure of the fact that if you get your hands on a Duroc pig you will be getting a red-haired pig on your hands. That red may be a brownish or ginger red but hey, it’ll be red so you shouldn’t worry about that.

We should also mention here that Duroc pigs are known for having slightly longer bodies than most other pigs out there, to the point where you can even make the mistake of believing that they are larger than some of the largest breeds out there.

Another interesting thing to note here is that fact that their ears are a bit on the droopier end and that they don’t stand upright on their own.

Duroc Pig Body
Photo by Shipley Swine Genetics / facebook.com

While their faces are fairly straight, they are a bit more concave near the middle and on top of that, they are fairly sensitive so make sure that they can’t smack their noses into anything while they go on exploring.

They are fairly resistant too when it comes to colder climates though which is always nice to see. This is mostly due to their hard skin and of course, the thickness of their coats.

Since they do shed their coats in the summer though, you shouldn’t worry about them not surviving through the hottest summers, just make sure that they have enough water to go about and some shade and they’ll be fine.

Due to how great they are when it comes to their durability, many farmers have stated that it is best to invest into a Duroc pig simply because you won’t have to worry about them dying on you simply because the climate got a bit colder than per usual.

Duroc Pig Temperament

Duroc Temperament

Temperament wise you will rarely if ever hear about Duroc pigs actually hurting anyone, if anything they’ll be the ones being bullied around since they are very non-confrontational creatures.

As long as they get to live relatively happy lives it shouldn’t come off as a surprise that they can get attached quite easily to their owners, to the point where they’ll chase you around everywhere you go to get petted by you.

They are quite sociable too, so you won’t have to worry about them starting any fights to begin with. This is all highly dependent on their upbringing of course, but as long as you provide them with a fairly safe and healthy environment, they will surely prosper to say the least.

They do require some nutritious food to actually grow up to their maximum potential but if you have the money to do it, we highly recommend you do so because they’ll surely produce some large litters in no time, making up for the investments here.

The fact that they are very sociable and well-tempered also makes this breed one of the best options for families out there looking for an extra special pet to have around the house.

Since the Duroc breed is not the loudest out there you can definitely own one and just keep them around as a pet.


Duroc Growth

Interestingly enough, the Duroc breed may be a very good contender for the fastest growing breeds out there, as long as they are kept on a nutritious and consistent diet.

If you can handle that part of their upbringing then you’re sure to love owning your very own Duroc pig simply because not a lot of other breeds out there can rival it when it comes to how fast it grows to butcher-size.

Since they are quite hardy, as mentioned previously, you shouldn’t have to worry about them not getting their cardio done because they’ll be running through the sun and through the snow all the same.

Duroc Meat Quality

Duroc Meat

But while the breed may be fast growing and especially hardy, what about the most important part about owning your very own pigs, what about their meat quality?

You should know that immediately, right off the bat you can tell if you’re dealing with Duroc pig meat or not due to the color of the meat. If the meat is dark red, well moisturized with a ton of fat springing right through, then you’re surely dealing with Duroc pig meat right here.

As you can tell from that description above, their meat quality is straight up out of this world, and not only that but they also do have a lot of lean muscle on their bodies, which makes for a lot of usable flesh that you can chop down on when the time comes.

Overall, the main reason why this is such a popular breed for farmers out there is the fact that the Duroc pig has some of the most delicious meat on the market, to the point where we would even argue that it is our personal favorite to say the least.


Duroc Reproduction

Interestingly enough, Duroc pigs are also extremely popular when it comes to their reproduction skills, and that’s no exaggeration right there.

In fact, they are often times sought after due to how well they mix and match their DNA with other breeds out there.

This is especially true for Duroc boars, which seem to be very proficient at spreading their seeds, regardless of the breed of the sows.

So, if you are a breeder looking to get into the secret art of crossbreeding, you will definitely want to get your hands on a Duroc pig because they are pretty much the best at it for sure.

Also, while every now and then you will get an angrier and more hormonal pig, for the most part, Duroc boars are very calm and easy to take care of, just keep in mind that if you do get a Duroc hog that is in heat, you may not want to make any sudden movements around them.

That is not to say that they are all violent, quite the contrary actually as most Duroc pigs out there are fairly well tempered, but it should be mentioned that they can get quite riled up during the breeding season for sure.


Duroc Benefits

First and foremost, you should know that Duroc pigs are especially great for outdoor raising due to how energetic they really are.

This means that if you do have a relatively big open space to work around you shouldn’t have to worry too much about them, because they’ll enjoy running around a lot more than they will just sitting in an enclosed space.

On top of that you will also be saving on barn cleaning expenses which in turn leads to the pigs leading healthier lives overall.

Second of all, you should already know by now that their meat is absolutely delicious to say the least. Some people have said that their meat can be a bit blocky-looking, but trust us when we tell you that as soon as you get past that first bite you will know just how mistaken you’ve really been.

Third, they grow quite fast, way faster than most other breeds out there in fact. Duroc pigs have even managed to surpass the Yorkshire pig breed when it comes to just how fast they grow, as they can easily reach market weight a month quicker than the Yorkshires.

Fourth, you do get the added benefit of fairly large litters to boast with, and on top of that, Duroc sows make for great mothers so you shouldn’t have to worry about their safety all that much as long as their mother is with them.

Duroc Delight

Duroc sows can give birth to around two dozen piglets, and while it is quite rare, you can get as many as 15 pigs at once every blue moon.

On top of all of that, Durocs have a fairly long life expectancy which makes them great as pets to say the least. They can easily outlive most other pets, being able to surpass the 20-year mark as long as you take proper care of them.

Last but not least we would like to mention again the fact that Duroc pigs are pretty much some of the least violent pigs on the market.

While the hogs can get quite riled up during the breeding season, you should never even consider the idea that the sow may hurt its piglets for no reason for example.

And let’s not forget about the fact that the Duroc pig breed is also known for being quite sociable, so for the most part you’ll be able to put them together with most any other pig breed out there and expect them to get along nicely.


All in all, we can safely say that the Duroc pig breed is one of the top choices out there and you can’t go wrong with them for sure. Are there better pig breeds out there? Honestly it all depends on what you’re looking for.

If you want a good pig breed that has delicious meat, minimal aggression and extremely large litters, then this may very well be the perfect choice for you though, and we will forever stand by that statement.

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About Sven Eliasson

Sven worked at a beef cattle operation dedicated to the ethical treatment of animals. He also has a passion for regenerative methods of pasture management and promotes sustainable farming practices. Learn more about Agronomag's Editorial Process.

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