The GOS Breed

The Gloucestershire Old Spots is a historic pig breed known for its distinctive white coat with black spots. The breed was developed in the Berkley Vale of Gloucestershire, England, during the 1800s. Its exact origins are not known, though it was likely based on two breeds – the original Gloucestershire pig which was large, off-white, had wattles and was without spots, and second, the unimproved Berkshire. Both of the old breeds used to develop the Old Spots are now extinct.

Gloucestershire (pronounced Glostersheer) pigs were selected as excellent foragers and grazers. The pigs are thrifty, able to make a living from pasture and agricultural by products, such as whey from cheese making, windfall apples in orchards, and the residue from pressing cider. These easy keeping qualities gave Gloucestershire Old Spots the nicknames “cottage pig” and “orchard pig.” British folklore claims the large black spots are bruises caused by the apples falling onto them as they foraged the orchard floors for food.